Monday, August 31, 2020

Downtown San Jose mini-boom

San Jose Inside has an uplifting article about how Team San Jose rallied together 14 hotel owners to provide discounted rooms for fire victims and evacuees. These visitors are in return giving back to the local community. Despite the questionable air quality, restaurants along San Pedro and San Fernando Streets have been booming--giving a ray of hope to San Jose restaurateurs. Read the article over here.

As an added bonus, here is another San Jose Inside article about developers staying bullish on Downtown San Jose. Even with COVID19, many large-scale residential and office projects are still moving forward. Perhaps 2021 will be our year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Valley Fair Open-Air Market

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Valley Fair has been closed for months, so they have gotten creative and launched an outdoor pop-up to allow some of it's tenants to continue operations. If you find it ironic that people are shopping in tents right in front of Valley Fair's shiny new (and deserted) $1.1 billion expansion, you're not the only one.

The outdoor market is open from 1pm to 7pm from Friday to Sunday in the Outdoor Plaza and North Valet Lot. Below are the list of participating retailers and eateries. The department stores are now fully open as well (masks required of course).


  • Athleta (Thursdays & Fridays only + the weekend of 8/21)
  • California Pizza Kitchen: outdoor dining on their patio, adjacent to Forest Avenue (open 7 days a week)
  • Champs Sports
  • The Waffle Roost Food Truck (@thewaffleroost | Saturday's only from 12 - 3:30)
  • Coach
  • Cotton On
  • Cotton On Kids 
  • David Yuman
  • Din Tai Fung: outdoor dining on their pop-up patio, adjacent to Forest Avenue (open 7 days a week) 
  • Foot Locker 
  • Fresh Society
  • Haagen Dazs (open 7 days a week in the North Valet) 
  • Hugo Boss
  • Johnny Was (only Sat & Sun) 
  • Kay Jewelers 
  • Koja Kitchen Bar
  • Levi's
  • Lovesac
  • MCM
  • Mex Cal Taco Truck
  • Pac Sun
  • Pottery Barn 
  • Quay Australia
  • Rabbit Rabbit Tea 
  • Salt & Straw (open 7 days a week on the plaza)
  • Shoe Palace
  • Talbots 
  • UNTUCKit (open 7 days a week on the plaza)
  • Young Art Lessons 
  • Zales
  • Zumiez

Source: San Jose Inside

Monday, August 24, 2020

Japantown mixed-use development proposal

Downtown San Jose receives most of the attention when it comes to dense high-rise development these days, but there are some interesting proposals outside of the area. For example, there is a new project on the table in Japantown that would include multiple towers on the area bound by Taylor Street, Miller Street, George Street, and North First Street. It would include a 210 foot tall tower with 244 apartments, 61,000 SQFT of office space, 5,560 SQFT of retail, and 731 parking spaces.

The project would also be right in the middle of the North 1st Street Local Transit Village Plan, which will hopefully accommodate thousands of new homes and jobs in the future. Currently the area houses a surface parking lot and a one-story office building. This would be a major upgrade for the area.

If all goes well this could be approved by the City Council later this year or in Q1 of 2021. It would then take at least a couple more years to build.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A Bowling Alley is coming to Downtown San Jose!

If like me, you're craving new entertainment options amidst the COVID era... we have some good news. Believe it or not, a new bowling alley with cocktails and games is coming to the heart of San Jose on Santa Clara Street. Oh, and it's under construction as we speak!

If you're scratching you're head wondering where this could possibly go, it's being built in the two-story space formerly occupied by AFK Gamer Lounge. It looks like the Bowling Alley with four lanes will be in the basement along with a private dining area and the ground floor will feature vintage arcade games, pinball, pool, and karaoke.

The project is called San Pedro Social and you can learn more over here.

Source: jgordo32 from the San Jose Development Forum

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Kebabery by Meso now open at Santana Row (pickup & delivery only)

Meso has become one of my favorite restaurants at Santana Row. Not only are the food and drinks consistently great, but they have gone above and beyond with their COVID policies. Tables are spaced out 15 feet apart across the beautiful plaza at the end of the Row with plenty of heat lamps (photo below). The ambiance and Mediterranean dining are on point. It feels like a two hour escape from reality where I'm not missing indoor dining one bit.

The owners of Meso have opened a virtual eatery, which means they share the kitchen with Meso and don't have any sit-down options. The food is only available for pickup and delivery. Featured are some of the key signature kebabs from Meso, including Impossible meat and swordfish kebabs, and several delicious sides like sweet potato with spiced honey harissa, hummus with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, and baklava for dessert.

It's a great casual alternative option, especially considering Meso is one of the higher-end options on the Row and it can get pricey.

The virtual restaurant is open every day from 11:30am to 9pm and you can use either DoorDash or UberEats for delivery.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Goodbye validation passes, City-owned Downtown parking lots now provide 90 minutes of free parking to all

We all knew that eventually parking fees would return to Downtown San Jose garages. Fortunately there is a new compromise that is a fair solution. The annoying parking vouchers that most people would forget to ask for are now gone. Instead everyone gets 90 minutes of free parking, regardless of where you go Downtown.

I love this idea as it make Downtown competitive with other places in San Jose that offer free parking. Want to check out that new flower shop on Santa Clara Street? No problem, now there is no need to hunt for cheap parking or validation. Just find the closest garage and walk to the store. If you need more time, it's just $1 per $15 minutes with reasonable caps on weeknights and weekends. For example, 2 hours of parking costs $2 and 3 hours is $6. Employees earning less than $20/hour also get a 50% discount on fees.

For more info on the changes, head over here.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

San Jose 2030 Halfway Point Video

David Manzo from San Jose 2030 has been chronicling Downtown San Jose development since 2010 and plans on releasing a 20-year-long video time lapse in 2030. We're now halfway through the project and he release a promo video below. Check out more videos and comments at the San Jose 2030 Facebook page over here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

August 2020 Downtown Dimension Highlights

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

The AUGUST 2020 Downtown Dimension is now available for download.

In this edition:
  • San Pedro Street between Santa Clara and St. John streets closes for al fresco dining, the first such street closure in the city.
  • A new ParkSJ parking plan begins Aug.3.  The first 90 minutes are free. The temporary free street parking period due to coronavirus also ends Aug. 3.
  • A new survey by Gensler reveals most workers would prefer to go back to the office.
  • A three-sided mural goes up on the Third Street parking garage.
  • Long-time Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino has some thoughts on downtown's past and future as he leaves his position to head a green energy company.
  • SJDA oversees lighting and tree re-planting projects downtown.
  • More building acquisitions and new structural designs downtown.
SJDA's first virtual public meeting coming up Aug. 14

SJDA's meeting Aug. 14 will stream live on Facebook Live starting at 8:15 a.m.  To view the meeting, simply go to our Facebook page @sjdowntown.  The meeting will include a detailed presentation about SJDA's Stabilization Plan, which identifies what's next for the Downtown Association in the near-term and looking out 2-3 years.  More than 1,200 people responded to our survey request, many of which indicating they wanted to hear about the results, so we're expecting a large viewership that day.

We hope you can "attend" from your home or office.

Another way to stay connected to downtown:

The Downtowner Online continues to be sent out on Wednesdays.  This weekly email features downtown businesses including virtual events and ways to support downtown. Subscribe

Monday, August 10, 2020

New San Jose Landmark Proposals!

After years of planning, we finally have an opportunity to make an internationally recognized landmark for San Jose! Urban Confluence Silicon Valley has collected hundreds of idea submissions from around the globe for an iconic landmark that incorporates modern technology, history, art, architecture, engineering, and place-making. These came from architects, artists, urban planners, and development enthusiasts from 72 different countries across 6 continents.

The next step is to choose three finalists that will each receive $150,000 to refine and re-develop their concept. After that a single winner will be chosen around April 2021 and fundraising would begin for what could be a $100 million+ project next to the SAP Center on the Arena Green.

I've gone through all 960 submissions, and some are truly epic. Below are images of my personal favorites. I love so many of these, but my vote would go to the Infinity Ring at the end (check out the video). It looks amazing despite the 200ft height restriction, you can walk inside it to cross the river while getting a view of San Jose, and it can do some impressive lighting effects than amplify it's coolness. Which is your favorite?

List of Top Submissions
List of all Submissions

The Ring

Ode To Nature

The Statue of Innovation

The Bulb

Urban Spiral

The Caterpillar

Super Natural Skypark

San Jose

Kinetic Obelisk

Land Lux

The Guadaloop

The Infinity Ring

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

SJDA's first public meeting since Feb will discuss Downtown stabilization plan

It's been a brutal four and a half months for Downtown San Jose businesses. Multiple restaurants have shut their doors for good and yesterday I heard MUJI will be closing.

The San Jose Downtown Association has a stabilization plan, which they will be discussing next week at their first public board meeting since the start of the year. They surveyed more than 1,200 people and have prepared a presentation to discuss short-term solutions for helping the Downtown business community during the COVID crisis.

The meeting takes place on Friday, August 14, 2020 at 8:15am-9:30am using Facebook live. For more info, click here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Christmas in the Park is going to look vastly different this year

You might be wondering what will happen to one of San Jose's most beloved events this year due to Covid. Fortunately, Christmas in the Park will go on this year. Unfortunately, it will not be in Downtown San Jose for the first time in 40 years.

The current plan is to turn Christmas in the Park into a drive-through holiday experience at History San Jose. Below are a few mock-ups of what the revised event could look like. While it will be different, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It could be a very innovative experience and provide some fresh ideas for 2021. I'm looking forward to it and hope Downtown San Jose still goes all out this year during the holidays.

Source: SVBJ