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


Monday, September 7, 2020

Developing Downtown San Jose

Several executives at local development companies got together to discuss future project Downtown. The tone throughout the presentation was optimistic despite the COVID pandemic. The walk-through of each major project starts around 2:30, but if you have the time it is worth watching the whole video. The companies represented in the call are investing billions of dollars into San Jose and many of the projects discussed are under construction right now.

Source: Urban Catalyst Blog

Developing Downtown San Jose from Hoge Fenton on Vimeo.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to stifle the economy, Urban Community Fund, Urban Catalyst Fund (an Opportunity Zone Fund), Bayview Development Group, and Jay Paul Company are developing key construction projects in downtown San Jose. Our panelists include:

• Erik Hayden, Founder, Managing Partner (Urban Catalyst Fund)
• Ted McMahon, Chief Investment Officer, (Bay View Development Group)
• Matthew Lituchy, Chief Investment Officer (Jay Paul Company)

Moderated by Sean Cottle, Real Estate Attorney at Hoge Fenton, our panelists discuss:

• Current status of development in Downtown San Jose
• Current rent and vacancy situation
• Long-term impact of the pandemic on Downtown San Jose development





Wednesday, September 2, 2020

New flights coming to SJC

Thanks to COVID, we went from having the fastest growing airport in the country and 11 international flights to a ghost town with only six international flights, all to Mexico.

Our fortunes may be slowly changing, the first new international route since COVID has just been announced by Volaris. They are adding a new nonstop between Mexico City and SJC that will fly three times per week (Mon, Wed, and Fri). This is the first time we'll have a direct flight to Mexico City in about two years.

Below is our revised list of international flights:




As an added bonus, Alaska Airlines is adding a seasonal nonstop to the ski town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming on December 19th. This will be a twice-weekly flight until April and will be the first time this route has ever appeared at SJC.

Source: SVBJ, SVBJ (2)


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Santana Row gym and nail salon now providing outdoor services

Santa Clara County may be in the "purple" zone when it comes to California COVID restrictions (the worst one), but that isn't stopping two Santana Row businesses from providing approved services outdoors. Both Barry's Bootcamp and Lavande Nail Spa are now open. Given that it will be at least 3 weeks before indoor gyms and nail spas are allowed in San Jose, these may be your best options.

Indoor restaurants are also off the table for at least 3 weeks, but Santana Row has shut down several streets to expand outdoor dining considerably. It's perhaps ground zero for some sort of normalcy in the South Bay. Many indoor stores have also reopened with a 25% capacity limitation.