Thursday, August 31, 2017

Friday Night Concert @ St. James Park tomorrow from 6-8pm

St. James Park is going to be filled with activity tomorrow night thanks to the Summer in St. James Park Concert Series. In addition to live music, there will be all sorts of games and food. It is nice to really see this park finally come alive and contribute to the Downtown culture. More details below from the FB event page.

It’s Happening! this summer in St. James Park! The City of San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services has partnered with San Jose Jazz to bring the downtown community and jazzy tunes and chill vibes with a series of SJ Jazz Boom Box Performances and rotating free and family-friendly activities. This Friday’s activities will include: SJ Jazz Boom Box FEAT. Kenya B.

  • Zen Den Pop-Up 
  • Life-Sized Dart Board 
  • Cornhole Tournament 
  • Croquet Games 
  • Food Trucks 
  • Café Dining Area 
  • Lamzac Seating

For other It’s Happening! Summer in St. James and Plaza de Cesar Chavez activities, visit our website at, where you can find a full calendar of activities.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Viva Calle SJ 2017 - September 17th

One of my favorite events of the year returns in just couple of weeks. During Viva Calle SJ, miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, bike, or skateboard down the streets of San Jose.

Viva Calle features multiple activity hubs which are basically festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This year they will be located in Japantown, Roosevelt Park, the Mexican Heritage Plaza, Alum Rock Village, and Lake Cunningham Park. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at each and every one. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores.

The route has changed again this year. It is now just a single line without branching out, and for the first time it will go straight down Santa Clara Street. At 7 miles and five activity hubs, it is the largest Viva Calle yet!

If you are one of the 50 million people that still play PokemonGo, the company that makes the game is leveraging Viva Calle as their first official event in San Jose. I'm about to out myself as a huge nerd, but I use the game when visiting someplace new to find hidden street art and all sorts of points-of-interest that even locals don't know about. It's like a hyper-local Tripadvisor for each block. The game will feature temporary stops and extra pokemon along the route as part of the event.

Viva Calle 2017 takes place on Sunday, September 17th from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). It is completely free and has no designated beginning or end as it's not a race. You can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 2017 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • Adobe Systems will add a fourth tower across the street from its current three-tower headquarters in Downtown San Jose. The new building will allow Adobe to more than double its San Jose headcount and add another 3,000 employees.
  • In a matter of a few months, Downtown has added multiple gourmet coffee shops including The Proper Cup at 1 S. Market, Chromatic at 17 N. Second, and Academic Coffee at 499 S. Street. Blue Bottle is also coming to 1 W. Santa Clara. This is in addition to Downtown's already stellar lineup of coffee shops: B2, Bel Bacio, Caffe Frascati, Devine Grind, Philz, Vero's, Voltair, Crema, Social Policy, and Ola's Exotic African Coffee and Tea.
  • The MarketCenter has added two new stores, Blaze Pizza and a Wells Fargo Bank.
  • Miami Beach Club at 417 S. First has opened a taco bar called Taco-a-go-go.
  • Several new business have come to Paseo de San Antonio:
    • Gong Cha Tea House replaced Quickly
    • Spoonfish Poke is opening this month
    • Tacomania has replaced Baja Fresh
  • JuiceAlize juice cart is now part San Pedro Square at 153 W. Santa Clara St. on weekdays from 8:30am-3:30pm.
  • Erik's DeliCafe now has a second Downtown location in Riverpark Tower I at 333 W. San Carlos.
  • City Dance San Jose returns each Thursday from Aug 24-Oct 12, offering free dance lessons at Plaza de Cesar Chavez from 5:30pm-9pm.
  • Silicon Valley Pride Festival will take place Aug. 26-27 at Plaza de Cesar Chavez and South First Street.
  • Two Bay Area developers have teamed up to propose a 1 million SQFT office compace at 440 W. Julian (behind the San Jose MarketCenter and near SAP Center/Diridon Station).
To read the newsletter, click here!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Silicon Valley Pride 2017

This is going to be one of those better late than never posts! The Silicon Valley Pride festival is still going on today until 6pm at Plaza De Cesar Chavez in Downtown San Jose. Admission is only $5, kids are free, and I'm sure it will be a blast.

Friday, August 25, 2017

First Earl of Sandwich in Northern California coming to Downtown San Jose

One of the hottest sandwich shops in Southern California and Florida has made its way to San Jose. The Earl of Sandwich sign is already hanging at the ground floor of One South Market (the shiny blue tower). The new restaurant will be located next to Proper Cup, a great coffee shop well worth checking out as well.

The sandwich was apparently invented in 1762 by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (now you know how the sandwich got its name). It turns out that this chain was founded in 2004 by two direct descendants of that inventor: Lord John Montagu, the 11th Earl of Sandwich, and his son. Now that heritage is coming to San Jose.

We could use more of these unique sandwich shops Downtown like Freshly Baked Eatery, Ike's, and now Earl of Sandwich instead of more Subways. Personally, I'm eyeing that Holiday Turkey sandwich down below.

There is no official ETA on the grand opening yet, but the sign is a good indicator that it won't be long.

Source: The Merc (hat tip to the anonymous commentor)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sourisseau News: The Lives of Automobiles

Last week we posted a Sourisseau News video about bicycles--this week we have a video about early cars in the San Jose area. The two minute video is embedded below for your enjoyment.

To see an archive of past videos, head over here.

Sourisseau News: The Lives of Automobiles February 2017 from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

City Dance 2017

Free outdoor dance classes are returning to Downtown San Jose. Every Thursday between August 24th and October 12th, a different genre of dance will be taught at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. You have everything from Salsa to Hip Hop to Disco. Even Bollywood and Zydeco are on the list this year.

Classes begin at 6pm and the lessons go for about an hour. Then between 7-9pm you can practice what you learned to live music. All are welcome and again, these classes are completely free. If that isn't enough to entice you, there will also be a beer garden and street food.

For more info, head over here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Million Sq. Ft. of New Office Downtown?

With news of Google potentially locating next to Diridon Station, suddenly everyone wants a piece of downtown San José! And boy are we ready! A Preliminary Review application came in last month to gain staff’s input on the potential to demolish existing buildings and construct three new 6-story office buildings totaling ONE MILLION square feet at 440 W. Julian Street.

The site is located within the Downtown boundary north of the SAP Center and is adjacent to the Guadalupe River, only separated by Autumn Parkway. The City of San José has designated these properties as Transit Employment Center in the General Plan, meaning that intensive job growth is supported here through high-density office and commercial development. The proposed one million square foot office development meets the intention of the Transit Employment Center land use designation.

The office concept in this proposal boasts having accessible green space on every floor and large terraces that will bring natural light deep into the floorplate (see pictures below). While the renderings are very preliminary, we can already gain a sense of the tapered design showcasing these private green spaces. This type of high-density employment next to Diridon Station would allow employees to take a multitude of transit modes to work: Caltrain, VTA bus rapid transit and light rail, ACE, and eventually BART. Not to mention the connectivity to the Guadalupe River Trail system that many bicyclists use to commute. 

If the developer wishes to proceed with their proposal, the next steps will include filing the following applications, at a minimum, with the City:
  1. Rezoning application to change the site’s current HI Heavy Industrial zoning district to a zoning district that supports intensive office uses
  2. Site development permit to allow the one million square foot office development
These permits would contain much more detail in regards to the design, circulation of vehicles, parking, landscaping, etc. and would most likely require a community meeting to gain input from the public. The preliminary application currently on file only serves as an informational application to the applicant so that they can get a preliminary analysis from staff. This helps applicants save time and money before submitting an actual development proposal. If the applicant decides to move forward, this project will give everyone an idea of what the City of San José will ask for regarding new development around Diridon and could very well set a precedent for Google moving forward.

-Kimberly Vacca

Monday, August 21, 2017

Frontier is the latest airline to come to SJC

Frontier is San Jose International's 7th new airline in just the last two years. The airline is a low-cost carrier that competes with Southwest, which should help keep fares as low as possible at SJC.

Their initial route will be a daily nonstop to Denver starting October 5th, which is also Frontier's base and largest hub. They are going to follow that with four weekly flights to Las Vegas beginning on November 1st. Up next will be a nonstop to Austin (this route used to be called the Nerd Bird as it connects two tech hubs). Lastly, they are planning to add a nonstop to San Antonio next spring. I'm most excited about the San Antonio flight since that will be a brand new route for San Jose.

Frontier typically charges half of what their competitors charge, but they have a multitude of fees for things you usually get for free such as seat assignments, sodas, and even carry-on bags. If you travel light and plan ahead, you can get fares as low as $29 each way.

More flights are routes are always a welcome addition to SJC!

Source: SVBJ

Photo by Chris Heaton (flickr)

Friday, August 18, 2017

SoFA Sundays: Aug 20th, Sep 17th, Oct 15th

SoFA Sundays is a great artsy event taking place each month in Downtown San Jose. It is similar to South First Fridays, but goes down on the third Sunday of each month from noon to 4pm across the SoFA District. Museums and art galleries such as the ICA, MACLA, and The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles will all be open and offering free admission.

The event features plenty of entertainment such as live performances, chalk art, bocce ball, and some surprises. Of course there will be food, ice cream trucks, boutique coffee, and freshly pressed juices. A super cool and unique feature is free brunch delivery from the SoFA market to your seats in the event (powered by Cowgirl Bike Courier).

This is also a great opportunity to see the new redesign of Parque de los Pobladores at William and South First St., which is centered around a concept of "urban rooms." Have a look at the first photo below for a taste of the concept.

The next three SoFA Sundays are this Sunday, September 17th, and October 15th. Fore more details, check out the press release below or head over to their Facebook page.

Back for more on AUGUST 20, SoFA Sundays offer great opportunities
to enjoy the visual and performing arts of the SoFA District

SAN JOSE, CA (August 10, 2017) – Downtown San Jose’s SoFA (South First Area) District, the center of creativity, is enjoying SoFA Sundays – a FREE event series celebrating the area’s vibrant arts scene – every THIRD SUNDAY from 12noon to 4pm.

Art lovers can visit more galleries on Sundays, now that the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art [560 South First] and MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana [510 South First] are open Sundays. The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles [520 South First] is also open, and with a special ticket from SoFA Sundays, you can get in FREE.

SoFA Sundays will highlight the fabulous “Urban Rooms” redesign of Parque de los Pobladores at William and South First, with ice cream trucks, chalk art muralist Clif Gold, and live sound healing performances with Jessica Neideffer. Plus there are lots of great prizes on our “Spinning Wheel of SoFA”, all from local businesses. New neighbor Academic Coffee will be there, tasting their cold brews as well as Origins Juicery on South First.

Upcoming dates are: August 20, September 17, and October 15.

BICYCLE BRUNCH DELIVERY? Sure why not. Thanks to SOFA Market and Cowgirl Bike Courier, you can now order your favorite brunch items at your seat, and have them delivered FREE!

LOVE BOCCE? Let’s play in the dirt, the way the wise guys do in the old country. Real hardwood balls on a crushed gravel court. We take the game seriously.

Special thanks to participating SoFA Sundays businesses: Academic Coffee, Origins Juicery, SoFA Market, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, Filco Events, SIGNET, and Salon Blu.

And for more information about SoFA Sundays, please visit our Facebook Page:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Content 9.4 Pick-up Party tonight at the Hammer Theatre

Content Magazine is turning things up a notch for their latest release party. Tonight, they are hosting the festivities on the roof of the Hammer Theatre in Downtown San Jose (101 Paseo de San Antonio).

The latest issue is entitled "perform" and features: Martin Malvar, Funkhouser Design, Nick Kumamoto, Majinga the Magician, Victor Parra, Los Lupenos De San Jose, Santa Clara Aquamaids and Stanford Women’s Synchronized Swimming Team, South Bay Polo Club, Nessia Starr, Ron Starr, Crissy Guggler, Academic Coffee, Raw Daddy, Vitamina, Hawaiian Poke Bowl, Love District, Ren Geisick, Turbo Sonidero, ASHA, and more.

The event tonight goes from 7pm-9:30pm and includes several musicians, refreshments, and signature beverages. You are welcome to attend even if you are not a subscriber. For more information, head over to the event's Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

San Jose: A City Center Emerges (1988)

Below is a nostalgic look at Downtown San Jose nearly 30 years ago. It took a long time, but I think Downtown is finally living up to the vision that the city leaders describe in the video.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sourisseau News: The Valley’s Love Affair with the Bicycle

While biking is extremely popular in San Jose today, and we are one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US, our love for bicycles goes all the way back to the 1880's. To learn more, check out the two minute Sourisseau News video below.

To see an archive of past videos, head over here.

Sourisseau News: The Valley's Love Affair With the Bicycle - March 2017 from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Monday, August 14, 2017

North 4th Street Student Tower Proposal

There seems to be no shortage of exciting news related to Downtown San Jose these days! The newest development project proposal is a 26-story student housing tower at the intersection of N. 4th Street and St. John. This location is 3 blocks away from SJSU and only 1 block away from St. James Park.

At 285 feet, it would be the exact same height as the San Jose City Hall, the second tallest building in San Jose (The 88 is taller by one foot). If the height alone wasn't enough to make it stand out, the proposed design with guarantee it. If approved, the N. 4th Street tower would have the most colorful and eclectic design of any Downtown tower to date. It features almost Tetris-like cutouts both horizontally and vertically, multi-colored glass, and even trees on the roof.

The ground floor has a respectable 8,409 SQFT of retail, a 2,713 SQFT leasing office, bike parking, and retail & guest parking. Above that is four levels of parking for students followed by 21 levels of student housing with 400 units (enough for about 900 students). If that weren't enough, there is a rooftop patio and amenity area--again with trees!

There are some negatives with the design. First, the tower will be adjacent to many single family homes along 5th Street, and those homeowners are likely not thrilled to have a student housing tower as a next-door neighbor. Also, there are a ton of parking spaces for a tower designed for students--especially since BART, Light rail, Bus Rapid Transit, and protected bike lanes are all within a 5 minute walk. In combination with the advent of autonomous cars, this will be very expensive wasted space five years from now and does not promote good urban design. At minimum they should plan on building the parking floors in such a way where they can be repurposed in the future.

Overall, I have to say this is pretty exciting and would markedly improve our skyline as well as add foot-traffic to an undeserved part of Downtown.

Huge thanks to fellow blogger Kimberly Vacca for providing high-res images from the proposal! Also a shout out to Robertee from the San Jose Development Forum for being the first to post about the permit. Click on the images below to enlarge.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Academic Coffee Grand Opening

Academic Coffee has graduated from being a pop-up at Five Points (awesome bar by the way). They have opened a proper coffee shop at 499 S. 2nd Street and are hosting a grand opening event today from 7am-2pm. To celebrate they are offering buy one, get one free drinks all day long. Next month their hours will be extended to 7am-7pm every day. I'm pretty excited to have another non-chain, quality coffee shop Downtown!

There will be a short ribbon cutting ceremony at 11am with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, State Assemblymember Ash Kalra, County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Councilmember Raul Peralez.

For more info and photos, head over to their Facebook Page.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Another great photo of San Jose

Below is quite a stunning perspective of Downtown San Jose that I have never seen before. This shows how population density is quickly increasing.

Source: Forbes, Dirt Patch from the San Jose Development Forum

Thursday, August 10, 2017

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2017: Aug 11-13

This weekend, San Jose Jazz brings its annual Summer Fest back to downtown San Jose. This is probably the biggest live music event in the city, and a large section of the downtown core is closed off to cars. Over the course of the weekend, over 100 acts will perform at 12 indoor and outdoor stages.

In addition to various sub-genres of jazz at each stage, there will also be dance lessons, food/drink, and local vendors throughout the area. Some people like to travel from stage to stage, while others find their favorite area and relax for the day. Whatever your style is, if you are at all into live music I highly recommend checking this out! See how it went last year in the summary video below.

In the last couple of years I've learned a few tips for attendees:
  • Bring a chair if you can! It is so much easier to just set up wherever you feel like it, and stay for as long as you want.
  • Don't forget that your ticket gets you a wristband, which allows you to leave the festival and return as you please. This makes it much easier to visit a nearby bar, restaurant, or cafe if you're looking for something outside of the festival.
  • As with any festival, try to map out where you want to be for specific performances. It can take some time to walk between stages. For indoor stages, capacity is limited so punctuality is especially important.
  • Jazz Beyond After Dark usually has slightly more experimental music, and is one of my favorite parts of the festival. If you get the chance, check it out on Fri and Sat nights.
  • Wear sunscreen!
For more information, see the promotional video or visit the website at

-Lawrence Lui

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sourisseau News: Women Cannery Workers

The San Jose Fruit Packing company was once the largest cannery in the world and by the 1930s, Santa Clara Valley's 38 canneries were the largest employers of women in California.To learn more about the important role of women keeping these these canneries afloat, watch the latest episode of Sourisseau News below.

To see an archive of past videos, head over here.

Sourisseau News August 2017 Women Cannery Workers from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

San Jose Light Tower Proposal

San Jose Inside has quite a bit more information on a proposal that will bring back our most iconic landmark, the electric light tower. The tower would likely be 250-260 feet tall, feature dynamic LED lighting, and may have an observation deck/restaurant at the top. The current team working on the project thinks it is feasible to build by 2020.

On a related note, there is a fund raiser tonight at Cafe Stritch to help fund Tom Wohlmut's documentary, "The Light Between Two Towers." The film will highlight the relationship between our tower and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Read the detailed article describing these very two exciting projects over here!

Monday, August 7, 2017

San Jose's ADEGA and Michelin announce first Michelin All-Star Event

ADEGA is an amazing Portuguese restaurant that became the first and only Michelin-star restaurant in San Jose last year. It is also one of only two Michelin starred Portuguese restaurants in the United States. This September, ADEGA is hosting a special event involving two special meals prepared by four different Portuguese chefs, all of which have Michelin stars.

  • San Jose’s ADEGA Chefs, David Costa and Jessica Carreira
  • Chef George Mendes of Michelin one-starred Aldea in New York, NY
  • Chef Alexandre Silva of Michelin one-starred Loco in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Chef Pedro Lemos of Michelin one-starred Pedro Lemos in Porto, Portugal

This special event will take place on September 12th and 14th. Each meal will consist of seven courses, each with a carefully selected wine pairing. After the meal, there is also a networking opportunity with the all-star cast of Portuguese chefs. Part part of the proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry - California.

Tickets for this exclusive experience are $375 per person, which includes food, wine pairing, tax, and service. It is pricey, but is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a meal prepared by so many decorated chefs. You can learn more or make reservations over here.

Update: The September 13th event has been moved to September 14th

Friday, August 4, 2017

Pop-Up Bikeway + Events

The City of San Jose is hosting several events related to biking next week thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation. The events begin with a temporary protected bikeway running along 4th Street between St. John and San Salvador starting on Monday, August 7th and continuing for a whole week. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts to the concept. You can check out the first flyer below for an idea of how this might look.

There will also be a community roundtable on August 9th to discuss how to better incorporate biking into our streets. Finally, there will be a meet & greet happy hour at Uproar brewery on August 10th. All of the flyers and Facebook page links are below.

Temporary pop-up protected bike lane on 4th St

Community Roundtable

Evening Social  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Downtown San Jose from Backesto Park

I love this photo from gillynova on the San Jose Development Forum. This was taken using a drone and provides a unique perspective of Downtown San Jose.

If you are curious about the exact location, Backesto Park is bound by 13th St., 15th St., Jackson St., and Empire St. It is perhapse best known as the location for the Luna Park Chalk Art Festival.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Riverpark Towers in Downtown San Jose gets new tenants

The Downtown office market is continuing to gain momentum. In addition to the big announcements from companies like Google and Adobe, there are smaller wins to celebrate as well. The Riverpark II office tower near the Guadalupe river sat empty for many years and was a sobering reminder of our great recession. Today the building is over 90% leased.

Cohesity is the latest tech company to make Downtown their headquarters, taking two whole floors in Riverpark. They are moving from a 14,000 SQFT space in Santa Clara to 40,000 SQFT in the tower. That means even more workers to liven up our city's core and hopefully take advantage of the Guadalupe River Park, one of our most underrated attractions.

A few feet away, Erik's DeliCafe has also opened a brand new location on the ground floor of Riverpark I (333 San Carlos Street, Suite 150). The restaurant will feature an espresso bar, breakfast options, and online ordering to cater towards Downtown techies. This was formerly the location of Paolo's, which closed down in August 2015. Slowly but surely, all the available office and retail spaces are filling up.

Source: SVBJ, SVBJ #2

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sourisseau News: Hotel Vendome

On First Street, just north of Downtown, there once stood the Hotel Vendome. The 150-room hotel was only around between 1889 and 1930, but featured several interesting amenities like a bowling alley. Eventually increased competition and damage from fires led it to shut down and the land was subdivided and sold off. It would have been nice to preserve this gem near Japantown, much like we were able to do for Hayes Mansion, the Hotel Montgomery, and the Hotel DeAnza.

Watch the two-minute video more to learn about this hotel and see some amazing historic photos.

To see an archive of past videos, head over here.

Sourisseau News: Hotel Vendome - April 2017 from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.