Thursday, March 28, 2019

The San Jose metro is the most "equity-rich" in the county

Of all the metro areas in the US, San Jose has the highest percentage of "equity-rich" homes at 72%. Equity rich means your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is heavily weighted towards value. For example, if you have a loan for $300,000 and the home is worth $1 million, there is $700,000 in equity there and that would be considered equity-rich.

More than 7 out of every 10 homes in San Jose now fall into this category. In comparison, the San Francisco metro came in second at 61%. California has the highest share of equity-rich homes of all states, and came in at 39%.

Even more impressive, eight of the top 10 equity-rich zip codes in the USA are in San Jose. In the top 100, 85 of the top zip codes are in the Bay Area.

Yes, this is a very expensive place to live... but for those lucky enough to own their own homes there is some reassurance that you can either tap equity as needed or move to a less expensive place and live like someone that won a small lottery.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2019 Annual Spring Symposium

The Urban Planning Coalition at SJSU is hosting their 8th Annual Urban Planning Symposium on Saturday, April 27th at the MLK Library. The theme will be of great interest to a lot of the locals urbanists and Downtown residents reading this--personal transportation devices (PTDs). Downtown patrons have become infatuated with scooters, shared bikes, and even funky one-wheel skateboards. The symposium discusses how these devices can become more sustainable, the impact on urban planning, and the future of these devices on the SJSU campus and Downtown.

Admission is free and breakfast and lunch are provided. If you are a student you will even get some credits for attending. To learn more about each panel and RSVP, head over here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

San Jose 2018 Unemployement

San Jose finished 2018 with the one of the lowest levels of unemployment of all time. At 2.5%, only May of last year saw a lower number (2.3%). The labor force also grew from 553,000 people to 575,000. Sometimes unemployment figures are better than reality because people give up and drop out of the labor pool entirely. The fact that the labor force grew shows that is not the case.

Wages in the San Jose metro also grew 4.5% in 2018, which outpaced San Francisco, New York, and Seattle. Keep in mind we already have the highest salaries in the US. Now is an amazing time to look for jobs or ask for raises!

Source: San Jose Economy Blog

Monday, March 25, 2019

Map of future Downtown San Jose projects

This collage was created nine months ago by CTA25 from the San Jose Development Forum on Skyscrapercity (yup, that's how far behind I am on the forum). While some projects already have revised designs and it is missing some of the recent megaprojects like Adobe's 4th tower and Boston Properties' insane 1.8 million SQFT proposal, this provides a pretty good perspective on just how different Downtown San Jose will look in a few years. Red lines are projects that are already well under construction.

Source: San Jose Development Forum (thanks for putting this together CTA25!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Apple WWDC 2019 returning to Downtown San Jose

Apple's largest event of the year will happen in the middle of San Jose between June 3 and June 7th. The event brings tens of thousands not only the the McEnery Convention Center, but to supplemental events hosted all over Downtown.

If you are a developer and and want to register, today is your last day to join the lottery for a chance to buy the $1,599 admission pass over here.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

San Jose Light Tower v2.0 has a location!

There is finally has an official location for the resurrection of our most famous landmark. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the Arena Green near SAP and Diridon as the future home of a new San Jose Light Tower.

The next step is an international idea competition for the design of the tower called "Urban Confluence Silicon Valley." Individual teams will submit creative designs for the project and there will be an award for the top three.

The icing on the cake is that there will be a little extra height available for the new tower (see yesterday's post). By raising building height limits to FAA regulations, will gave the tower an extra 100 feet of potential. I'm sure the height will be full maxed and hope there are some options for virtual increasing that height as well (lighting, drones, etc.).

The official announcement from The San Jose Light Tower Corporation is below.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Downtown San Jose building heights set to increase

Believe it or not, San Jose building heights are actually below FAA requirements. The restrictions were self-imposed to boost the airport and attract more international flights. Now that we have one of the fastest growing airports in the country as well as the 2nd busiest in the Bay Area, the City Council has decided to remove some of those restrictions to help Downtown San Jose development.

There will be some negative impact to SJC. On the rare days with inclement weather where long-distance flights have to take off south over Downtown, they will need to either limit the number of passengers or cargo. This is required to safely fly over the Downtown core in the extremely rare event where one of the two engines becomes disabled.

The positive side to the changes is that most of Downtown will get an extra 15-30 feet of develop-able space, making high-rise construction more compelling to developers. In the Diridon area, you might see buildings up to 150 feet taller than what is allowed today. The change is estimated to open up over $4.4 billion worth of vertical real estate in the Diridon area alone.

Perhaps one day we'll have electric planes with vertical take off and landing and can completely eliminate the height requirements, but for now this is a positive step towards building a more dense and vibrant Downtown.

Source: SVBJ, SVBJ (2)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Springtime Events at Santana Row

This Spring, the Row will feature quite a few fund raisers and fun events--everything from a beauty and wine walk, an autism benefit concert, and the Summer Fashion Show. There are also regular events like the first Saturday Makers Market promoting local artisans, a free yoga series, and a mommy & me kid's club on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Check out the full calendar of events below.

Beauty & Bubbles
Thursday, April 4; 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Step into Spring with Beauty and Bubbles benefiting the Junior League of San Jose. Meet and mingle with the winemakers while sampling wine and bubbles from local Santa Cruz winegrowers. Plus enjoy light bites, DIY flower crowns, beauty touchups, exclusive discounts and more inside Santana Row shops & restaurants!  Participating shops and restaurants include Crate & Barrel, Laser Away, LB Steak, Vintage Wine, Kendra Scott and more.

Tickets are $35 in advance, and $40 starting March 29th. Purchase tickets online here or inside the Santana Row Concierge.
Makers Market in the Park
Saturday, April 6; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Visit this curated marketplace in Santana Row Park (across from Left Bank Brasserie) and shop local artists selling US handcrafted goods such as jewelry, handbags, ceramics, glassware, soaps candles and more! Enjoy the beautiful outdoor park and support local small business every 1st Saturday of the month.
  • 30+ local artists
  • DIY workshops
  • Live music
  • Complimentary Wine & Bites in the store 
  • Contests for store gift certificates!

For more information on how to be a vendor, please call (408) 320-1868.
Voices for Autism Benefit Concert
Saturday, April 6; 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Join us for a day of fun, food, and music in Park Valencia. The Youth Leadership Committee is hosting the 4th Annual Voices For Autism Benefit Concert to increase autism awareness and raise money for the programs at Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE). 

The concert will feature youth bands and other musical performances from students around the Bay Area! This is a free event and perfect for families with children of any age. There will be music, interactive autism awareness demonstrations, and select restaurants are participating in fundraisers to raise money for PACE.

All proceeds from this event benefit Pacific Autism Center for Education. PACE provides high quality behavioral therapy, education, and residential care for children and adults with autism. For more information, visit
Yoga on The Row
Every Saturday from May – September; 9 a.m.

Bring your yoga mat and enjoy a morning workout with lululemon during their FREE Yoga Series every Saturday in Santana Row Park. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., and classes start at 9 a.m.
Mommy & Me Kid’s Club Kick-Off Event
Tuesday, May 14; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The second Tuesday of every month, May through December join us for a fun-filled day of arts and crafts, face painting, music, balloon art, entertainment and more. Join us for the kick-off event on Tuesday, May 14th.  Enjoy live music from Andy Z, flower planting, character appearances, DJ and more. 
Summer Fashion Show
Saturday, June 8; 2 p.m.

One of the best parts about summer is the fashion. Santana Row’s most popular event, Fashion in The Park, returns to showcase the coolest looks for a hot summer in the most summery of spots—Santana Row Park. This professional runway show will feature the hottest summer styles from Santana Row shops. Tickets are $50 and include seating at the runway show, access to the onsite lounge, champagne & wine, light hors d’oeuvres, a Passion for Fashion shopping card with exclusive incentives & post‐show soirees. Tickets go on sale April 1 at the Santana Row Concierge and online at

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March 2019 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The MARCH 2019 Downtown Dimension is now available at:
  • Maya Esparza and Pam Foley, elected to the San Jose City Council in November and joining the panel in January, provide their perspectives of the city and downtown in an eight-question Q&A.
  • February was a month of tremendous development activity, including progress on three very large downtown proposals.
  • Downtown welcomes Opa!, Miniboss, Super Good Kitchen and Nokia.
  • The City Council closes in on a decision regarding maximum downtown heights.
  • Opportunity zones, a new tax break for those with capital gains to reinvest, form in downtown. Urban Catalyst also forms to utilize opportunity funds to substantially improve downtown real estate.
Here's an invitation to attend SJDA's next public meeting, April 12, 8-9:30 a.m. at The Glass House. Main topic:  Mitigating homelessness downtown. Please rsvp to

Also for your information:
  • Live and Local SJ supports live music in the center city.
  • Traffic alerts keep up with lane and road closures and openings.
  • Maps of downtown commercial property availability and development proposals.
  • Boom City: SJDA's summary of new downtown building proposals and west side acquisitions.
Downtown Dimension is a leading source for information about downtown San Jose news, events and businesses.  Subscribe with a simple email to, subject line:  Subscribe. 

For information about weekly downtown events, also subscribe to Downtowner Online.
Copyright © 2019 San Jose Downtown Association, All rights reserved

Monday, March 11, 2019

New homes and office space coming to Steven's Creek

Fortbay has just received approval for one of the first San Jose "signature projects" at 4300 Steven's Creek. This is just a few minutes west of Valley Fair and Santana Row and near the border of Cupertino.

The plan is to build 582 residential units, 233,000 SQFT of office space, and a multi-story parking structure. There will be some retail element, but it is not clear from the article how much or where in the project it will be. The new buildings will be between six and eight stories and will wrap around a new 1.4 acre promenade and park.

It's nice to see new mixed use projects being developed outside of Downtown San Jose. The one missing component here is access to public transit, but I have a feeling most of the residents will have a short commute to the Apple campus down the street. We really need to build some sort of mass transit from Downtown all the way to De Anza since this corridor is densifying rapidly.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Lights, Camera, Action: Cinequest 2019

Cinequest 2019 occurs March 5th to March 17th in San Jose and Redwood City (Silicon Valley) where it will showcase the work of artists from 56 countries, including 132 World and U.S. premiere films and virtual reality.  One hundred works at Cinequest have been directed by women. Fifty-four celebrations, performances, and special events round out the offerings—amounting to 531 screenings, events, parties and experiences.

Some of my top flick picks and screenings I'm so excited about watching include: FreaksEvery Time I DieThe PublicGroupers#LikeUndercoverThe Edge of SuccessCut Off (Abgeschnitten), Go Back to China and Shadow to name a few!!!

Here’s a look at Bay Area films, documentaries and short films worth checking out:
·      Bring Me An Avocado
·      Lucky Fifty
·      Circles
·      The Edge of Success
·      The 17
·      Hook Up 2.0
·      Your Friend
·      49 Mile Scenic Drive
·      Bones
·      Shades
·      Swan
·      When an Egg Meets a Tomato
·      My Mother, Myself and I
·      Love for Food
·      In Our Heads
·      The Fringe Class
·      Lunch Lady
·      American Muscle

Key Cinequest 2019 highlights include:

Closing Night Screening and Celebration: Sunday, March 17, 6:00pm, California Theatre
Cinequest 2019 culminates with The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. 

Maverick Spirit Award Events:
Cinequest’s highest honor, the Maverick Spirit Award, recognizes the world’s most compelling visionary and creative forces. Cinequest 2019’s Maverick Spirit Award recipients are:
  • Legendary star of screen and stage Bill Nighy
  • Actor, director, writer, and activist Nandita Das
  • Life of a Maverick Award Recipient, Esther Wojcicki

Television & Webisodes at Cinequest 2019:
It wasn’t that long ago when award-winning actors, directors, and producers wouldn’t dream of working in television or creating a web series. All of that has changed as the golden era of TV prevails. Cinequest is extremely proud to offer a First Look at upcoming shows, and you get to experience these dynamic stories on the big screen!!! Lineup includes:
  • THE BLACKOUT (U.S. Premiere) 
    • A glorious addition to the science fiction genre, The Blackout defies expectations and electrifies.
    • Joanna Nadin’s bestseller about finding optimism and adventure in deprived circumstances. Thirteen-year-old Joe Holt is left behind when his mum and unsavory boyfriend take a week-long holiday.
  • M (U.S. Premiere)  
    • An exhilarating horror-thriller from Argentina, M follows Diane and Tim, a young American couple who travel to Patagonia to search for Tim's father, a biologist who disappeared 10 years earlier.
  • OVER WATER (U.S. Premiere) 
    • Over Water is a captivating psychological drama set against the raw background of a sea port. Former television star John Beckers is given one last chance to get his life back on track.
  • TABOO (U.S. Premiere) 
    • Called “The comedy show you shouldn’t laugh with,” Taboo examines that which we often take for granted and forget to cherish.
  • UNDERCOVER (U.S. Premiere) 
    • One of the largest ecstasy producers in the world, Ferry Bouman, lives a charmed life in his villa, but things start to change when two undercover agents move into his territory.

Regular Screening Prices:
·      General Admission: $12
·      Regular screening tickets are not valid for special events. Opening and Closing Night films are special events.
·      Matinee: $8 All weekday (Monday – Friday) screenings before 5 pm.
·      Students: $6 Valid Student ID required at Box Office.

Complete lineup with ticket and pass sales information at