Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 2018 Downtown Dimension

The JULY 2018 Downtown Dimension is now available at:
In this edition:
  • Google presents initial plans for west side of downtown, acquires more parcels and continues negotiations with City of San Jose for another nine parcels.
  • Henry Coca, Jr. reflects on 61 years of family-run business as a fitness club company acquires historic building at Second and Santa Clara streets (Note: This story is extended at sjdowntown.com/sjda-news.
  • Nineteen restaurants are involved in Dine Downtown Restaurant Week, starting July 13
  • Buddy's San Jose Music in the Park is July 12 with Toots & The Maytals.
  • SJSU President Mary Papazian reflects on growing university-downtown synchronicty.
  • A second option for downtown medical care materializes.
  • VTA proposes pilot program for railings along Second Street to minimize pedestrian-light-rail disruptions.
  • The latest downtown high-rise proposal, this time an office tower at 200 Park Ave.
  • New businesses, favored moments from the past and more.

Also available:

Downtown Dimension is a leading source for information about downtown San Jose news, events and businesses.  Subscribe with a simple email to sjda@sjdowntown.com, subject line: Subscribe

Monday, July 30, 2018

Triple tower and new theater proposed in SoFA!

The latest high-rise proposal in Downtown San Jose is easily one of the most ambitious. Invicta Towers would consist of three (!) high-rise buildings between South Second and First Street Downtown. This is the heart of the SoFA district with several museums and theaters within a one block radius. The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, and MACLA would all practically be inside of the project (they are buildings between the towers in the first image).

Invicta would include 667 residential units and 41,500 SQFT of tail and public arts exhibition space. Part of that space would be a 12,000 SQFT theater for live performances. Tower A would be 295 feet tall and 27 stories, making it the 2nd-tallest tower Downtown.

Each tower would have at least one restaurant on the ground floor, but the project will support a total of 4-10 dining options. Parking would be in a 4-story below-grade parking structure.

While not mentioned in the article, the renders have a swimming pool on top of each of the towers, one covered and two uncovered. It looks like the amenity space will be on the penthouse floors, which is a great idea given the views from this location and our weather.

Hats off to developers, which are stepping up and continuing to raise the bar on Downtown proposals. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll get so see some more projects break ground before the end of the year.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, July 26, 2018

San Jose International overtakes Oakland as the Bay Area's 2nd busiest airport

After 17 years trailing Oakland International in terms of passenger numbers, SJC's incredible growth rate has brought the airport back to 2nd place. SFO still retains 68.3% of the passenger market while SJC's slice of the pie is 15.9% and Oakland is now at 15.8%.

San Jose International had by far the highest growth rate year-over-year among Bay Area airports. Between May 2017 to May 2018, passenger growth was up 17.1%. SFO was up 7% and Oakland was up 4.1%. This means all three airports are doing better than 2017, but ours is fairing particularly well.

The growth creates both direct and indirect benefits to San Joseans. The most obvious benefit is more flights and routes, which also tend to drive prices down as competition increases. Since the airport is owned by the city of San Jose, this increases tax dollars going into our coffers. Spending from visitors also bolsters our economy and is especially significant on international routes--which now make up over 8% of passenger traffic.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Electric car company grows in San Jose

NIO, a Chinese EV startup, is doubling down in North San Jose. They are moving into a 100,362 SQFT building at 3100 N. First Street, which was previously home to Broadcom and Hitachi. NIO already employs 520 people in San Jose, so this is a positive sign that more high-tech jobs will be opening up soon.

NIO currently only manufactures a single car, the EP9. It's a $1.2M supercar with 1,341 horsepower that currently holds the electric car record for the Nurburgring and for the fastest autonomous lap at the Circuit of the Americas. Like Tesla they decided to start with a halo car and work their way down to cars the masses can afford. Their next car will be a 7-seat SUV called the ES8 that will compete with Tesla's Model X.

NIO has already raised $1 billion and are rumored to be gearing up for a US IPO that could raise another $2 billion. It's clear that the auto industry is going to look a lot different in 5-10 years than it does today. If NIO turns out to be another disruptor like Tesla, then San Jose has a lot to gain as the brand grows.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Topgolf breaking ground in Alviso

Later this year, Topgolf will begin construction on their first Bay Area location. Topgolf is the Dave&Busters of driving ranges and has 41 locations nationwide (only one in California). The San Jose venue will have a three-story driving range with 120 hitting bays, each of which can accommodate six people. Each golf ball has a microchip that can score each golfer--turning it into more of a video game than a traditional range. 

Most Topgolfs are open until midnight during the week and 2am on the weekend. This would provide another much-needed late-night entertainment option for North San Jose and Aliviso. Of course there will be a high-end lounge, one or more restaurants, and several bars onsite. To put the size of the project in perspective, it will employ about 500 people and entertain 450,000+ guests each year.

In addition to the Topgolf, the overall development site will also have a 200-room hotel and 119,000 SQFT of retail. The project is being proposed without subsidies and would bring even more tax dollars to San Jose coffers. It's not clear how long it will take to build, but an opening by the end of 2020 would be a safe bet if there are no roadblocks.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Viva Calle 2018 - Sep 23rd

One of my favorite events of the year returns in just couple of months. 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 SoFA, the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, and Martial Cottle Park. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all three hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores.

Similar to last year, the route has been streamlined to just a single line without branching out. The route runs from SoFA all the way to Martial Cottle Park, which will showcase San Jose neighborhoods not featured in previous events.

Last year 130,000 people attended the event, which is up from 100,000 the year before. It's not clear if PokemonGo will be incorporated into Viva Calle like last year, but I would say the odds are good.

Viva Calle 2018 takes place on Sunday, September 23rd 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, July 16, 2018

New two-story office and restaurant project Downtown

If you are an urbanist, you are probably already freaking out with the headline of a new two-story building in the most dense part of San Jose. However, it will make more sense when you look at the photo down below and see where it is being built.

Storm Land Company is planning to build a 34.5 foot-tall building at the corner of Santa Clara Street and North Almaden Avenue. You might remember this as the patio for the Mmoon or the exterior staircase for the SVG Innovation Center. It is a small sliver of land connected to a historic building, so there are severe limitation on what can be developed here.

The plan is to have a new full-service restaurant on the ground floor that would potentially sell alcohol and stay open until 2am. The second floor would be used for corporate offices. It could actually a pretty neat infill project that would better utilize the space. I love the outdoor seating, but perhaps they could use accordion or roll-up doors to open up the restaurant to the street (similar to Olla Cocina).

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, July 12, 2018

More millennials are moving to San Jose than SF

Based on 2016 immigration and emigration data, it looks like more San Jose is getting more traction among millennials. This generation is currently defined as those aged 22 to 37. In 2016, San Jose gained 5,496 millennials (this is net, immigration - emigration). On top of the list for net migration was Seattle, followed by Columbia and the only other Northern California city in the top ten, Sacramento.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Terminator Virtual Reality attraction coming to San Jose

An LA entertainment startup called Spaces is launching their first US-based attraction and we are one of two planned stateside locations. The 30-minute experience sets up teams of guests to take on Skynet, so the location couldn't be more appropriate. In addition to VR headsets, there will be physical effects like wind and explosions.

Even though you probably have never heard of Spaces, they were spun out of DreamWorks Animation and have an impressive list of executives and investors. This will likely be a big-budget experience. The company also has a $30 million contract to bring VR and mixed-reality to a Chinese theme park and are working on other VR experiences using their own intellectual property.

There will be an exclusive sneak peak at a secret location sometime soon. You can register for a chance to be one of the first to try out the experience over here.

It will be interesting to see how these next-generation entertainment experiences pan out. Hopefully we are not taking too many steps towards becoming a Black Mirror episode.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Dine Downtown San Jose Restaurant Week is July 13-22, 2018

Downtown's best restaurants offer prix fixe menus or chef's specials
SAN JOSE - Some of downtown San Jose's best restaurants will celebrate Dine Downtown Restaurant Week with prix fixe meals, chefs’ specials and food-and-drink pairings from July 13-22.
Participating restaurants include:
71 Saint Peter
Cafe Stritch
Élyse Restaurant
Enoteca La Storia San Jose
The Farmers Union
Forager Tasting Room & Eatery
The Grill on the Alley
Hawaiian Poke Bowl
Lobby Lounge at Fairmont San Jose
Loft Bar & Bistro  
McCormick & Schmick’s
Mezcal Restaurant
Mosaic Restaurant & Lounge
Nemea Greek Taverna
Nomikai Social Food + Drinkery
Olla Cocina
Poor House Bistro
Uproar Brewing Company

Foodies need only show up at the restaurant of their choice and ask for the Dine Downtown option.
By expanding from prix fixe menus, newcomer eateries can join Dine Downtown this year.  For example:
  • District’s sampler plates featuring cheeses, charcuterie, yellowfin tuna poke and lamb meatballs are paired with sparkling, red and white wines and whiskey flights.
  • Fairmont Lobby Lounge chef James Hoang offers three courses including Wakame seaweed salad or summer rolls, fusion tacos or Fairmont Sushi Roll, and Moet Imperial champagne sorbet.
  • Olla Cocina Chef Alex Jimenez has put together a Mexican meal including marinated and grilled half chicken, frijoles and rice, all paired with the restaurant's featured craft cocktail, the Latin Lover Margarita.
  • Nomikai’s chef special by Emil Marquez is a summer pizza loaded with freshness:  salmon sashimi, avocado, microgreens, pickled red onions and aioli.
  • And Elyse restaurant goes all out with prix fixe menus at two price points, including mushroom tarts and grilled oysters as appetizers, seafood trio and short ribs bourguignon as main course choices, plus dessert and optional wine pairings.

Longtime supporters of Dine Downtown just seem to get better, creating new and inventive dishes for their patrons:
  • 71 Saint Peter’s Dine Downtown menu by head chef Cordial Pajor offers summer melon gazpacho, followed by charred ceviche and entrée of duck confit risotto or marinated bavette steak, plus passion fruit crème brulee for dessert.
  • Nemea Greek Taverna executive chef Sandra Martinez has put together classic Greek choices for a four-course meal.
  • Poor House Bistro has a price-fixed offering of classic Cajun fare.

“The chef’s specials and pairings opens the possibilities for more restaurants to get involved and gives customers more choices to explore,” said Julie Carlson, SJDA marketing director.

Check dinedowntownsj.com for offer specifics.  Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. nightly.

Check http://dinedowntownsj.com for offer specifics. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. nightly. Reservations made through OpenTable.

Dine Downtown is produced by the non-profit San Jose Downtown Association.

Many of the participating restaurants have validation programs. Parking information is available on http://ParkSj.org.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hank Coca's Downtown Furniture will become a boutique gym

A 61-year old furniture store at 82 E. Santa Clara was recently purchased by KSP Holdings with plans to transform it into a fitness club. Hank Coca's Downtown Furniture has been a Downtown staple for as long as I can remember. However, the writing has been on the wall that its days are numbered--literally, it has been having a "liquidation sale" for countless years.

KSP Holdings owns ClubSport fitness clubs, The Studio workout clubs, and Renaissance ClubSport hotels. It is not clear exactly which of those brands will hang on this 120 year old, 43,210 SQFT building. The only thing know for certain is that change is coming and this key Downtown corner is going to get a significant makeover.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, July 5, 2018

3Below Theaters & Lounge is hosting Slapstick Sundays

Who: 3Below Theaters & Lounge presents
What: Slapstick Sundays
When: July 1st through September 16th 
Where: 3Below Theaters & Lounge, 288 So. Second Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Why: Every Sunday young and old alike can enjoy the company of others who appreciate this high art…the art of slapstick comedy. With origins dating all the way back to Ancient Greece and Rome, the slapstick genre has charmed audiences throughout time: commedia dell’arte, Punch and Judy, Amercian and English vaudeville. Across time and geography, audiences have been treated to these hilarious actors performing acrobatics and intentionally harming themselves, all in the name of laughs. Thankfully, the physical blows were not damaging; the comedians you’ll see in our Slapstick Sunday celebrations are most definitely masters of timing and comedic illusion.

Tickets: $10.00  (Discounts available for Students, Seniors, Military and Educators)   Online at www.3Belowtheaters.com or 408.404.7711
Double Feature: See two movies on one day and take 25% off ($12 to $15)

Schedule: The same film(s) will be shown on the 1st and 3rd Sundays with another pair on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Showing times are 11:00am and 12:45pm.
Sunday, July 1 & 14 at 11am: City Lights with Charlie Chaplin
Sunday, July 1 & 14 at 12:45pm: Modern Times with Charlie Chaplin
Sunday, July 8 & 22 at 11:00am: The Nutty Professor with Jerry Lewis
Sunday, July 8 & 22 at 12:45pm: The Caddy with Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin
Sunday, July 29 & August 12 at 11:00am: Buster Keaton in The General (+ a series of Keaton shorts)
Sunday, August 5 & 19 at 10:30am: The Cocoanuts with The Marx Brothers
Sunday, August 5 & 19 at 12:15pm: Animal Crackers with The Marx Brothers
Sunday, August 26 & Sept 9 at 11:00am: Laughing 20’s with Laurel & Hardy
Sunday, September 2 & 16 at 11:00am: Horse Feathers with The Marx Brothers
Sunday, September 2 & 16 at 12:30pm: Duck Soup with The Marx Brothers

Photos courtesy of 3Below: Charlie Chaplin in City Lights and The Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

San Jose Rotary Fireworks 2018

Tonight, join the Rotary Club of San Jose at Discovery Meadow for a free fireworks show. While it can be seen from most of Downtown San Jose, the best viewing spots will be close to the Children's Discovery Museum. The family-friendly event kicks off around 9:30pm. For more info and a list of sponsors head over here.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

San Jose adding 4,000 cell stations for 5G wireless

San Jose has been planning to utilize street lights for a next generation wireless grid for quite some time. Now, those plans are taking some concrete steps towards action.

Verizon, AT&T, and Mobilitie are laying out the groundwork for improved 4G LTE and new 5G internet infrastructure with the largest small cell deployment of any city in the United States. About 4,000 new cell stations will be added to light poles throughout San Jose.

Collectively the three companies will also contribute $24 million to San Jose's Digital Inclusion fund, which was designed to close the digital divide and help low income families acquire fast and reliable internet access.

The initiative is great news. If we are going to maintain our lead as the innovation capital of the world, our infrastructure has to keep up.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, July 2, 2018

San Jose's economy continues to amaze

We are now at an all-time high when it comes to the state of the economy. Business Insider once again ranked San Jose as the #1 metro in the US when it comes to economic performance (GDP growth was an astounding 6.9%). In the first half of 2018, San Jose companies received about $400 million in venture funding through 14 different deals. Oh, and our unemployment rate is a jaw-dropping 2.4%. The only other time we were ever in that zone was during the .Com shenanigans of 1999-2000. In fact, we have added over 70,000 jobs in the past 8 years, which more than makes up for the 35,000 jobs lost during the Great Recession.

Yes, it is very expensive to live here and traffic is horrible. However, the root cause of these two issues is a positive thing--our economy is at its pinnacle. 

Source: SJEconomy