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.”


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


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