Monday, November 30, 2020

SJDA Year-in Review

The SJDA public Year-in-Review meeting will take place on Friday, December 11th at 8:15am. 

Scott Knies always does an entertaining and informative slide show highlighting the preview year's events. It will be an interesting one for 2020, so you won't want to miss it.

You can register for the event over here for the Zoom webinar or watch live on the Facebook Event page here.



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Light the Holiday Nights Downtown San Jose Nov. 26-Jan. 3

While Christmas in the Park is moving to History San Jose this year, there will still be plenty of holiday cheer in Downtown San Jose. The Light the Holiday Nights installation in Plaza de Cesar Chavez features LED wrapped trees, archways, and a contemporary Christmas Tree on the stage. 50 West San Fernando, Miro, and City Hall will also be lit up for the holidays along with a special window at The Tech Interactive. Light projections will be cast on the former Camera 12 building and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. Lastly "The Story of Holiday Arts" will be on display at 125 S. Market featuring costumes from San Jose productions of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and Hansel and Gretel.

The event will run from dusk to dawn starting on Thanksgiving and running until January 3rd. For more info, have a look at the press release below.


Lights in Plaza de Cesar Chavez will brighten downtown and holiday spirits

SAN JOSE -- Despite the main traditions and attractions of Downtown for the Holidays derailed by Covid-19, the festive lights of the season will shine bright in the city center. 

“Just like Dr. Seuss' Whos of Whoville, no Grinch or pandemic can take away our holiday cheer," said Autumn Young, director of special projects for San Jose Downtown Association.

With Downtown Ice, Christmas in the Park and Winter Wonderland shutdown or moved by the Covid pandemic, the heart of the city faced not being wrapped in its usual holiday best. 

"No way were we going to leave the center of the city dark this season when we need to be uplifted more than ever," said Scott Knies, SJDA Executive Director. 

The main feature to Downtown Lights will be the Light the Holiday Nights installation at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.  From dusk to dawn Thanksgiving through Jan. 3, Light the Holiday Nights will light the stage and the trees ringing Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

 “We had to brighten up the center of the city,” Knies said.

Multiple sponsors agree.  Light the Holiday Nights will be produced by SJDA in coordination with the City of San Jose and Downtown Property-Based Improvement District, and supported by presenting sponsor First Tech Federal Credit Union and downtown property owners Jay Paul Company, Google, Sobrato, Swenson and Urban Catalyst.

Together, the partners have created an illuminated wonderland, with lights in the park’s existing trees, more lighted trees brought in for the occasion and sparkling arches, ideal for a drive-around or a stroll through.  A 26-foot-tall stylized holiday tree perched atop the stage on the north end of the park will be a primary feature. 

"This is an interim installation to get us through this unusual holiday season and keep the spirits up until Christmas in the Park can return next year," Young said.

The project is designed as a “passive and festive” strolling experience.  Visitors can add to the excitement by adding lights to their person, pets and kids, but they also must wear their masks and make sure they are properly socially distanced of six feet or more from other parties.  Large families should break up into smaller groups to avoid blocking pathways and to keep the experience safe for everyone.

“Light the Downtown Nights will bring much-needed cheer to our downtown essential workers, residents and visitors,” said Doug Bartl, president of the PBID Board of Directors.

The Plaza Park installation is part of a larger Downtown Lights experience planned for the holidays, which includes these highlights:

·      Lighting of trees and buildings at 50 West San Fernando, Miro and City Hall

·      Activated window at The Tech Interactive

·      “Video mapping” lighted projections on the former Camera 12 building on Paseo de San Antonio and Second Street, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph at San Fernando and Market streets.

·      “The Story of Holiday Arts” featuring costumes from San Jose productions of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol and Hansel and Gretel plus chairs and stands to represent the missing musicians and audiences for the symphony and holiday musicals in the windows at 125 S. Market St. 

“The Story of Holiday Arts display unfolds by telling the tale of what holiday arts of the past looked like here in the city,” said Young.  “Effort will be placed on keeping the narration uplifting while inspiring guests to give a moment of their time to appreciate the beautiful costume designs on display, to visit the websites of the organizations featured and if possible, to contribute in support of the arts.”

LIGHT THE HOLIDAY NIGHTS ADVISORY DETAILS:

WHAT:  Light the Holiday Nights installation is ongoing this week.  Lights come on for public at dusk on Thursday, Nov. 26
WHEN:  Dusk to dawn, Nov. 26-Jan. 3
WHERE:  Plaza de Cesar Chavez
WHO:  San Jose Downtown Association, Downtown San Jose Property Owners, developers and Presenting Sponsor First Tech Credit Union
WHY: Interim activity meant to keep holiday spirits bright during the holidays.  Covid forced cancellation of the holiday ice rink, and Christmas in the Park created a drive-through experience outside of downtown.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

29-story "BoTown" tower proposed

The space formerly occupied by the BoTown restaurant on 2nd Street in Downtown San Jose could become a luxurious residential hi-rise building. The proposal floating around suggests a 29-story tower with 520 residential units. 85% of the units would be one bedroom or one bed+den (535 to 737SQFT), 15% would be two bedroom units (944-1,106 SQFT).

As for amenities, it doesn't get much better than a rooftop infinity pool--something that I think should be in consideration for just about every new residential hi-rise project. Next to the pool on the penthouse floor would be a gym and party room. Other amenities include a library/lounge, and billiards room. There will also be retail space on the ground floor and a leasing office on the second floor.

There is still no ETA for construction.

Source: SVBJ



Monday, November 16, 2020

Bank of Italy renovation will look amazing

One of San Jose's first hi-rises is about to get a stunning makeover. The iconic Bank of Italy building was the tallest hi-rise between San Francisco and Los Angeles from 1926 until 1970.

The biggest change will be exterior stairs and balconies running the whole height of the building. While this may not sound like a big deal, the options for these stairs look pretty impressive and will forever change how this building looks in the skyline (see first image below).

There will also be two podium terraces, a garden, and a new roof terrace. The ground floor will eventually house a new restaurant, café, and event venue. Again, the renders here look impressive. The entrance of the restaurant and music venue would face Fountain Alley and contribute to making the area more vibrant and lively. Fountain Alley itself is also getting a renovation (and an actual fountain) in the former Lido nightclub space.

Source: SVBJ, Bank of Italy Design Overview






Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Lucid Motors opens Valley Fair "Studio"

Valley Fair has a new flagship electric car store, and it's not Tesla. Lucid Motors is an ultra-luxury car brand that just has a single model, the Lucid Air. It's a $100k+ sedan that competes with the likes of the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series and comes with a staggering 1,000 horsepower powertrain.

If the car and store seem eerily similar to Tesla, that's because most of the team behind Lucid are ex-Tesla engineers that helped design the Tesla Model S. Coincidentally, the very first Tesla "Store" was across the street at Santana Row. Lucid event built a high-speed charging station in the Valley Fair garage, very similar to what Tesla did across the street at the row.

While you won't be able to test drive a Lucid Air yet, you can see all of the options and trims (which are named after Californian destinations like Santa Barbara). The showroom also looks stunning, it's worth checking out if you're at Valley Fair already.

This location is one of only four with the others being Lucid's Headquarters in Newark, Beverly Hills, and Century City (LA). Eventually they will have 20 studios. Long term, they plan to offer SUVs and more affordable models as well.

Source: SVBJ






Monday, November 9, 2020

November 2020 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month.

The NOVEMBER 2020 Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
 
On the Front Page:  

More than 1,000 new residents have moved into the downtown core in 2020, filling the five newest apartment buildings to open.  Another wave of buildings are preparing to open in another year or two.  Take a look at the stats, and read about who's moving in.

Google's plans for its 80 acres in Downtown West are out, and your comments are welcome. Have they met their objectives?

With extraordinary quick response, downtown's Al Fresco dining program was extended to a nightly closure of midnight.  Winterization of outdoor dining has begun, giving our restaurants a fighting chance to survive through the pandemic.

 
Also this month:
  • Through Facebook and Instagram, participating restaurants tell the story of Dine Downtown, which continues through Nov. 15.
  • The Property-Based Improvement District arm of SJDA is putting together a light display for the holidays in Plaza de Cesar Chavez, which will be ready at Thanksgiving.  Be sure to take a stroll or drive around the park safely this holiday season.
  • The Downtown Farmers' Market will extend through Dec. 18.  Though the farmers will be there with fresh produce, the focus will be on a larger number of artisan vendors, as the weekly event held on Fridays transforms into a Holiday Market full of gifts worth giving to friends and family.
  • Jose Moreno, owner of Cubamex Sandwiches on South First Street, tells his story of fortitude and persistence as he fights for the survival of his business.
Please take a look at this month's edition. Stay safe, healthy and positive.
Save the date -- Friday, Dec. 11, 8:15 a.m.

SJDA's year-in review meeting will take place virtually.  You can watch the annual pictorial look at downtown from the comfort of your home.  The meeting also includes a Golden Nail winner announced for outstanding architecture and design, and a farewell to board members who have put a great deal of thought and time into making downtown a better place.

Another way to stay connected to downtown:

The Downtowner Online is sent each Wednesday.  This weekly email features downtown businesses including virtual events and ways to support downtown. Subscribe

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

South FIRST FRIDAYS

While South FIRST FRIDAYS are technically on hiatus due to COVID-19, there are a mix of in-person and online exhibitions happening this this weekend. Anno Domini, Art Ark Gallery, KALEID, and Works will have all have exhibits open this Friday, roughly around 5-9pm. For more info on what will be showcased, click here.

For a proper night out you can pair that art with an outdoor movie at 3Below Cinemas, a great meal in one of SoFA's trendy eateries, or perhaps a few cocktails at Haberdasher. It's been a rough election week for everyone, I think we deserve a day to remember what normalcy looked like (plus masks of course).



Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Monday, November 2, 2020

October 2020 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month.

The OCTOBER 2020 Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
 
On the Front Page:  

Historic Post Street continues to make history -- gaining a "Qmunity" designation for the LGBTQ+ community.  Dimension covered the Sept. 10 ceremony and recent public space-making upgrades to the block of Post between South First and market streets.

Mac's Club, a downtown fixture since 1945, is one of the main reasons Post Street received the Qmunity distinction.  What a story of endurance and persistence the owners and long-time manager have to tell.

Simultaneously, Post Street was mostly closed off to vehicle traffic and became the downtown's third Al Fresco dining location.  55 South built a patio boat christened the "El Dorado" now on the street awaiting customers.

 
Also this month:
  • The 12th annual Dine Downtown begins Oct. 1 with several changes.  This year while restaurants struggle, Dine Downtown expand to 46 days -- through Nov. 15.
  • SJDA is working with the City and 3Below Theaters to present Up on the Roof, showing 40 movies on the roof of the Second and San Carlos Garage starting Oct. 8.  Dinner is included in the deal.  Coronavirus protocols also make these events an experience not forgotten.
  • The MOMENT shops on San Pedro Square are planning for the holidays.
  • "Hella Gardens" public art project filled downtown storefronts with temporary flora.
  • Future downtown office developers will need to pay a Commercial Linkage Fee.
Another way to stay connected to downtown:

The Downtowner Online is sent each Wednesday.  This weekly email features downtown businesses including virtual events and ways to support downtown. Subscribe

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Spooktacular Saturday at the San Pedro Square Market

Halloween event options are super limited this year, but there is at least one event going on at the San Pedro Square Market. Costumes, music, food specials, and some "Halloween Fun" are in order. Spooktacular Saturday runs from 11am - 6pm and all the proper COVID protocols will be in place.



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Art Boutiki is streaming live concerts

Art Boutiki is a comic book publisher, store, cafe, and music venue for up-and-coming artists. They are the type of local treasure that would be impacted the most by COVID. However, they are making the most of a bad situation are are livestreaming concerts almost every Wednesday and Saturday. It's a great way to support the local arts scene and many of the concerts are free.

While going through there events I also came across Dine and Draw and Drink and Draw in-person events. For these you listen to music on the outdoor patio, grab some wine or brews, and draw. It is a comic book publisher after all.

I used to love visiting Art Boutiki as part of South First Fridays and was sad when they had to shut down and move to Midtown (44 Race Street). While I haven't visited the new venue yet, it looks like they have kept all of the soul and character of their previous location and may have even taken things up a notch!

For their full list of events, head over here.

Hat tip to Ryan Mann for sending this in.



Monday, October 26, 2020

Intersections of San Jose

Peter Gorman has created an interesting mashup of art and transportation. He designs minimalist maps that were inspired by a one-year, 11,000-mile, solo bicycle trip around the United States. As part of that he spent about a month exploring the Bay Area and turned some of our most popular intersections into the contemporary interpretations below. It's a neat project and you can view the high resolution image and accompanying comments over here.



Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Market Park could bring thousands of homes and an office compound to North San Jose

A massive transit village has been proposed for the San Jose Flea Market right next to our new BART station. This is already the site of our largest project that is currently under construction. How massive you ask? The developers are looking to build 3,450 residential units and 3.4 MILLION square feet of commercial space. To put that in perspective that is roughly half of all the office space the exists in Downtown San Jose today.

The commercial component would be spread across seven buildings and three parking structures. The residential piece could utilize high-rises as tall as 200 feet, would would be very noticeable for the area. Other nearby amenities would include a plaza, pop-up retail space, an urban garden, a 1.4-acre rec area, tennis course, and a mini baseball field.

The bad news is that the Flea Market would be demolished to make way for the 61.5-acre project. There would be 150,000 SQFT of ground-floor retail and restaurants in the transit village, but it would not quite make up for losing a San Jose icon. However, given the vast increase in jobs, tax dollars, and density near transit--this project should be an easy approval by the city.

Source: SVBJ


Monday, October 19, 2020

Latest Miro Towers photos

Gillynova from the San Jose Development Forum has posted a few photos of Miro, which will feature San Jose's two tallest towers when construction is complete across from City Hall sometime next year. The project appears to be coming along nicely despite all of the COVID restrictions.





Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Breaking News: indoor dining resumes today at San Jose restaurants!

Yesterday we officially went from a Covid tier status of red to orange, which means indoor dining is coming back! The scale goes from purple, to red, to orange, and finally to yellow which has the fewest restrictions. Technically we could have resumed indoor dining in red status but Santa Clara County has chosen to enforce stricter rules than what California mandates.

Restaurants will be able to open their indoor dining rooms again effective immediately. However, they will be limited to 25% of their maximum capacity or 100 guests, whichever number is lower. A few other restrictions may be lifted as well on religious gatherings and movie theaters.

Slowly we're headed back toward some level of normalcy.

Source: SVBJ



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Google unveils more of its plans for Downtown San Jose

Last week, Google released additional renders and details about their plan for Downtown San Jose. The project is one of the largest and most ambitious in the Bay Area's history. It would involve 7.3 million SQFT of office space, 4,000 new homes, half a million SQFT of retail and art space, 15 acres of parks and open space, and zero net CO2 emissions.

One of the most exciting components is that 65% of the campus will be accessible to the public. Instead of being a fortress that only Googlers can access, many of the amenities will be open for everyone to enjoy, including those 15 acres of new parks and open space.

The scale is unlike anything we have ever seen. Google is planning to build 30 new buildings! Eventually it could support up to 25,000 employees. You can get an idea below of what this might look like below. If you have the time, it's worth watching the full 40 minute video that Google put together to showcase the latest version of the project (also below).

Source: Engadget



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

San Jose metro is still the best for tech

Once again, San Jose is the top metro in the United States for tech productivity. In 2019 San Jose brought in $30 billion more than the runner up, San Francisco. 

This statistic is even more impressive considering we now only have the 5th highest count of tech workers. New York, LA, Washington, and the San Francisco metros all have between double and quadruple our population and in the case of New York nearly double the number of tech workers. Despite this, we still have a greater economic output in the tech industry. The death of Silicon Valley has been severely exaggerated.

Source: SVBJ



Tuesday, October 6, 2020

3Below planning to screen movies on the roof!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. After over 6 months without being able to open their doors, Downtown San Jose's last remaining movie theater is going to show movies on top of the parking structure that 3Below calls home.

The initial batch of movies will focus on social justice (such as Moonlight, Selma, MILK, To Be Takei, RBG, etc.). Several of the films will also have a live talk related to the movie ahead of each show and there will be a different theme every night.  On a warm night, this sounds like a fun and unique thing to do.

Screenings will cost $25 and come with a $10 voucher for food. The first screening is this Thursday, October 8th. You can see the whole schedule over here.





Monday, October 5, 2020

Dine Downtown returns with a super-sized 6 week program

The Dine Downtown program is back and better than ever despite COVID19. Not only will more eateries be included but the event has been extended to 6 weeks, running all the way to November 15th. Each participating restaurant will have a multi-course special just for the event. This time around even cafes are included with food and coffee pairings, which is a fantastic idea!

The list of participants includes many local favorites like 71 Saint Peter, District, Enoteca La Storia, Habana Cuba, Mezcal, Pastelaria Adega, and Farmer's Union. There is one notable addition, which for me is the most highly anticipated restaurant opening in Downtown for all of 2020... Petiscos by Adega. This is a new casual restaurant by the same owners of Adega (the first and only San Jose restaurant to ever get a Michelin Star) and Pastelaria Adega on Santa Clara Street. Petiscos by Adega will offer Portugal's version of tapas at the corner of First and San Salvador (above Haberdasher). It's inclusion on the list hopefully means it will be open by November.

The Dine Downtown press release is below and a list of participating restaurants and menus can be found here.


Dine Downtown San Jose returns for 12th year, Oct. 1-Nov. 15

 

SAN JOSE – Dine Downtown, version 2.020, celebrates all Downtown San Jose restaurants currently open during the COVID-19 crisis. 

 

“This is our most popular dining event because it highlights downtown’s unique food cultures,” said Julie Carlson, marketing director for the San Jose Downtown Association, which produces the event.  “This year, we stretched Dine Downtown to include more restaurants over a longer period of time to make sure customers have plenty of time to explore new dining experiences AND revisit a favorite.” 

 

Downtown restaurants are eager to see their customers return for the extended promotion Oct. 1-Nov. 15 – that’s 46 days covering seven weekends to celebrate and support all the downtown San Jose eateries that have remained open for business during the strict pandemic protocols.

 

“Our restaurants are struggling because of the pandemic,” said Autumn Young, SJDA’s interim managing director.  “We wanted to bring attention to those businesses making their way through these difficult times so they can focus on what they do best – which is making delicious food!”

 

Cafes are joining in the program this year with creative food and coffee pairings. Dine Downtown in past years focused on white tablecloth dining with chef specials, prix fixe menus and wine/cocktail tastings.

 

More than 100 food establishments are open downtown offering take out, delivery and Al Fresco outdoor dining.   Of those, more than 20 will feature a Dine Downtown offer.

 

SJDA is still gathering offers from regular Dine Downtown participants, including 71 Saint Peter, Farmers Union, District, Enoteca la Storia, Habana Cuba and Hawaiian Poke Bowl.  One newcomer this year is the Petiscos by Adega Portuguese restaurant at 399 S. First St., which is scheduled to open during Dine Downtown’s run.

 

Examples of specials for this 12th year of Dine Downtown:

 

·      Tiki Pete, 23 N. Market St. offers a food-and-drink pairing of Mai Tai and Shoyu Chicken ($20) and a Chef Special of ahi poke nachos ($10).  The Prix Fixe for two includes Cajun fries appetizer, seafood combo of shrimp, green mussels from New Zealand, dark clams in shell, plus choice of Dungeness crab, king crab legs or whole lobster, plus Hawaiian sausages, corn and red potatoes, and haupia for dessert ($90).

·      The Farmers Union on San Pedro Square brings back its offer from previous years of three courses for $30 of choice of creamy tomato soup or Caesar’s salad appetizer, entrée choice of Farmers veggie bowl, grilled flat iron steak, half-rack smoked ribs or salmon, and warm brownie and salted caramel bread pudding for dessert.

 

Many of the cafes, delis and coffee houses are excited to participate in Dine Downtown:

 

·      The Nest Asian Bistro, 312 S. Third St., offers 77-cent boneless chicken wings and $5 beer on Monday and Wednesday.

·      Cubamex, 325 S. First St., will add chips and salsa and soda to any sandwich order for $2 more.

·       MakiBQ on Fountain Alley has three chef specials:  Kimbap & Inari Combo with House Sauce ($6); Chicken Katsu Musubi with Cucumbers & Teriyaki Sauce ($6); Volcano - Fire Fries, Fried Chicken & Crispy Noodles Spicy ($8)

 

Other participants include Academic Coffee, Voyager Craft Coffee, Voltaire Coffee Roasters, Paper Moon Café and  Pastelaria Adega.



Wednesday, September 30, 2020

San Jose's new Better Bike Plan 2025

San Jose's 2020 Bike Plan led the city to become one of the most bike-friendly in the United States. It resulted in 392 miles of on-street bikeways and 62 miles of trails. Now, it's successor is looking to take things even further.

Better Bike Plan 2025 would call for 37 miles of new trails, 79 miles of new separated bike lanes, 101 miles of bike boulevards on slow-speed streets, and upgrading 293 miles of existing bike lanes with additional safety measures.

When San Joseans were polled, many said that they would want to bike more but were concerned about safety. This new plan attempts to alleviate those concerns by focusing on increasing safety such as adding protected lanes. 

If all goes well, the improvements, additional bike lanes, and trails could be fully rolled out over the next 4 years.

Source: San Jose Inside




Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New office building coming to North San Jose

LBA Realty has submitted plans for a new 125,000 SQFT four-story building near West Trimble Road in North San Jose. Amenities include two urban gardens, an amphitheater, a grove, and a greenroof terrace on the fourth floor.

This building is designed to compliment another approved 10-building project called NorthTown right next door which would span 1.28 million SQFT.

While the timing may seem off given the whole COVID situation, now is actually a great time to build preparing for a major rebound in 2021 or 2022. A lot of people (myself included) are missing going into the office and interacting with coworkers face-to-face.

Source: SVBJ



Monday, September 28, 2020

Cambrian Park Plaza Proposal

A once popular West San Jose shopping center is slated to be fully redeveloped into a mixed-use urban village. Cambrian Park Plaza is slated to have 58,000 SQFT of retail, a six-story apartment building with 305 units, 25 townhomes, 48 single family homes, a four-story assisted living facility, 229 hotel rooms and generous amounts of park space with include a children's playground, dog park, and community garden.

Weingarten Realty--the developer--was able to cram all of this into 18 acres by placing almost all of the 1,469 parking spaces underground.

The retail spaces are going to be between 1,080 and 5,000 SQFT, which will make it difficult for larger retailers such as BevMo to move back in but will be a convenient size for restaurants and small shops.

Cabrian Park Plaza drawings look pretty darn good so far and remind me a bit of Evergreen Village Square. This is envisioned as a signature project and effectively a downtown area for the Cambrian district. 

There is no ETA yet, but hopefully this moves into demo and construction by the end of 2021.

Source: San Jose Inside, SVBJ







Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Welcome Back to Downtown San Jose!

Parts of Downtown San Jose has been thriving lately despite the pandemic, but many businesses need our support if we want them to be around in 2021. I came across the video below that highlights many of our local entrepreneurs along with a new hashtag, #dtsjopen. Check it out and please patronize the restaurants and shops you care about!




Tuesday, September 22, 2020

LGBTQ business district launching Downtown

Post Street in Downtown San Jose is officially going to transform into a LGBTQ+ district called "Qmunity." The idea will be to create something similar to the Castro in San Francisco or West Hollywood at much smaller scale. The street stretches from 1st Street to South Market and has had LGBTQ bars and nightclubs for quite some time.

The San Jose Downtown Installation just installed new trees and programmable LED lights for the new district. Urban artwork is currently underway for both crosswalks and sidewalks. Soon there will also be a LGBTQ+ mural and banners to help build the identity of the district.

Source: San Jose Inside




Monday, September 21, 2020

Urban Confluence Silicon Valley Reveal Event

Urban Confluence Silicon Valley is going to build an iconic landmark across the street from the SAP Center. Last Friday, they narrowed down almost a thousand concept submissions across six continents to just three finalists.

Two of them use negative space to recreate the original San Jose Light Tower while providing platforms for visitors to climb the tower and take in 360 degree views. 

The third concept is a towering garden with over-sized plants and flowers. This one features walkways with glass on all sides--including the floor--that make you feel like you are floating through the garden..

Each of these finalists will receive $150k to perfect their concept and a final decision on which will go forward with will take place early next year. You can watch the full reveal of all three concepts below.

Friday, September 18, 2020

MIRO Towers being topped off

Below is a brief video from the top of MIRO, San Jose's future tallest set of buildings. The towers are currently at maximum height (just under 300 feet) and they should be ready for leasing some time next year. The views look quite stunning from up there.

Source: aphelion2100 from the San Jose Development Forum






Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Love, Loss, Life

Tonight the San Jose Museum of Art is hosting an event discussing the contributions of Chicano, African-American, and Vietnamese immigrants to San Jose. It includes music inspired by these stories created and performed by Emmy-award winning musician and composer Van-Anh Vo. At the end there will be an interactive Q&A with the speakers and artists.

For free tickets, click here.



September 2020 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The latest addition of Downtown Dimension is now live. Below is a summary of the content this month.


The SEPTEMBER 2020 Downtown Dimension is now available for download.

On the front page:

Taking into account the views of 1,254 survey responders, SJDA has a stabilization plan that provides guidance on how SJDA and downtown San Jose should move forward in the next six months and for the next two years.  The 40-page plan goes deep, but this month's Dimension summary outlines the highlights, managing principles and primary objectives:
  1. Emphasize clean and safe services downtown;
  2. Provide plenty of nurturing to downtown's vulnerable storefront economy;
  3. Focus on downtown place enhancement and marketing.
Also this month:
  • Nirvana Soul owners talk about opening "third-wave specialty coffee shop" in SoFA.  
  • Groundwerx program managers promoted.
  • Railroad through northern part of downtown to be silenced at night.
  • First 90 minutes free parking at newly upgraded and safety-conscientious ParkSJ garages 
SJDA hosts City Council candidates forum Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m.

The City Council forum featuring District 4 candidates David Cohen and Lan Diep plus District 6 candidates Dev Davis and Jake Tonkel will stream live on Facebook Live starting at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11.  To view the meeting, simply go to our Facebook page @sjdowntown.  We're taking some reservations on Zoom, too.  RSVP to sjdarsvp@sjdowntown.com.

Another way to stay connected to downtown:

The Downtowner Online is sent each Wednesday.  This weekly email features downtown businesses including virtual events and ways to support downtown. Subscribe

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

San Jose's new bike plan

San Jose has unveiled Better Bike Plan 2025, which will lead to a major expansion of our bike network. The previous plan gave us 392 miles of on-street bike-ways and 62 miles of trails since 2009.

The 2025 plan is nearly as ambitions. It features 79 miles of new separated bike lines, 101 miles of bike boulevards on slow-speed streets, upgrading 293 miles of existing bike lanes with new safety measures, and 37 miles of new trails.

The overall price tag could range between $250 million to $420 million. It sounds expensive but the cost covers hundreds of miles of improvements for less than the two-stop Light Rail expansion to Eastridge Mall.

Source: San Jose Inside



Monday, September 14, 2020

Guided Downtown San Jose Street Art Tour

Art helps brighten the day, and we could use a little extra brightening right now. Downtown San Jose boasts one of the most impressive collections of murals in the Bay Area. Ecocity Cycles is now offering a full blown COVID-compliant tour by pedicab. The tour takes about an hour and includes visiting over 20 murals and a free treat from a local bakery. They are also using an XL pedicab that can seat up to 6 and you can even choose whether to have a top cover or go full-on convertible.

For more info or to book a tour, head over here.



Thursday, September 10, 2020

New San Jose Flag

Pop quiz, do you know what the San Jose flag looks like?

Here is a quick reminder:


It doesn't quite seem to represent the San Jose of today. Bushels of wheat and grape vines have little to do with our current culture of innovation, technology, diversity, or entrepreneurship. There was an attempt to redesign this flag in 2016, but it never gained traction.

Abhinav Ganesh has created a modernized version of the San Jose flag. It's clean and easy to remember. The sun iconography is also used in official City logos and reminds us of our 300 days of sunshine each year. Here is the official description of the unofficial redesign:

"the triangular shape represents the Santa Clara Valley, the triangles represent the mountains at our borders, and the sun represents our warmth and lofty aspirations. The blue and gold colors, currently used by the city, are also California's official colors."

If you would like to support the initiative to modernize the flag, Abhinav has started selling the new flags and donating $10 to local charities for each sale. You can learn more over here.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

17 East Santa Clara Street

We have our first render of a residential tower at 17 East Santa Clara Street. This is the infamous site of an adult book store that burnt down between 1st and 2nd Street.

When a developer first announced they would like to build a high-rise here, there was quite a lot of speculation on what could actually be built on such a small and narrow space less than 9,000 SQFT. However, I have to say this initial design looks fantastic and is a welcome change from the super wide towers that are in the works. The narrow side creates an optical illusion where it looks 40 stories tall instead of 28.

The tower is going to have 96 residential units, with 17 of those restricted for moderate-income residents. It's not clear whether the units will be for sale or rent. Unfortunately it does not appear to feature any retail on the ground floor, but with such a small lot that is to be expected.

I hope we see other towers with this type of narrow aesthetic going forward to add more variety Downtown.

Source: Lawrence Lui on Twitter



Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Mixed-use "Fountain Alley" project moves forward and includes a surprise

Urban Catalyst, which is quickly becoming my favorite Downtown developer, is moving forward with a special project in the historic Fountain Alley district. They are turning what used to be Lido Nightclub into a six story building with retail on the ground floor, five stories of office space, and a rooftop bar. Since Scott's seafood relocated, there are no options I'm aware of where you can grab food or a drink more than a floor off the ground besides the Capital Club.

The office lobby will start in the historic Knox-Goodrich building next door, which is 130 years old and will be fully incorporated into this development. This is an excellent way to preserve our history while still developing Downtown San Jose. It reminds me of how our historic post office was utilized for a cafe and exhibit space in the San Jose Museum of Art.

Another exciting surprise feature that Urban Catalyst is included in the project is a unique fountain. It would seem appropriate for a place called Fountain Alley to have an actual fountain. The goal is a place-making landmark and they have done a ton of research on cool fountains they could bring to the area. The current plan features a fountain modeled after the spectacular Apple store fountain in Milan (last image below).

While it is not the largest development project in Downtown San Jose, it's packed with character. Everything from historic preservation to unique amenities that don't exist in the area are being packing into this five story building that is just a couple hundred feet from the future BART station. This will reshape the historic district forever.

The ground breaking is currently slated for Q2 2021 and completion is expected by mid-2023.

Source: SVBJ