Tuesday, December 29, 2020

iChina Restaurant in Valley Fair

Covid hit just as San Jose was beginning a true culinary Renaissance. We even got our first Michelin Star restaurant in 2017. Over this entire decade it feels like expectations have changed and there is a general shift away from cookie-cutter chain restaurants to more unique offerings. Old strip malls from my childhood that were filled with fast food joints like Taco Bell and Little Caesars now have Vietnamese Cafes, Indian Pizzerias, and wine bars featuring tapas.

I was pleasantly shocked when I stumbled across these photos of iChina in Valley Fair. This easily could have been another Cheescake-factory, but instead they hired the same designer from Hong Kong that worked on the top floors at the Burj Dubai (world's tallest building). The aesthetic looks stunning, and hopefully the food will live up to design. I can't wait to visit when all this craziness is over.

Source: Silicon Valley Joe from the San Jose Development Forum

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We hope that you and your family have the best holiday season possible this year!

Even though Christmas in the Park has temporarily moved for 2020, Downtown is still decked out for the holidays with tens of thousands of lights. New this year are holiday projections like the one below at St. Joseph's Cathedral.

If you feel like driving through neighborhoods to find the best decorated homes in San Jose, there is a handy website for that over here. Some of the homes have been features on TV shows and even have light shows synced to music. It's a fun thing to do with the family and completely covid-safe!

Happy Holidays! 🎄

Downtown San Jose for the Holidays. Still the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Shop Local Campaign

It's still not too late to do some Christmas Shopping! 🎁

Mayor Sam Liccardo launched a #ShopLocalSJ campaign to encourage people to support San Jose businesses and help keep them afloat in these challenging times. It's a great way to contribute to our local community.

To see a list of Downtown San Jose businesses, head over here. I also have to plug SJMADE, which has a great selection of hyperlocal crafts and foods for purchase here.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Cyberpunk Downtown San Jose?

Drex Lee has created a slick augmented reality version of Downtown San Jose that looks straight out of Cyberpunk 2077. It's only 60 seconds long yet somehow showcases 17 different parts of the city with a neo-futuristic filter.

Check it out over here!

Monday, December 21, 2020

SJDA Year in Review Meeting 2020

This year's SJDA year in review presentation was especially interesting given the sheer insanity of 2020.

Scott Knies--as always--provides a phenomenal summary of everything significant that happened in Downtown San Jose this past year starting around the 6:30 mark in the video. I highly recommend watching his entire presentation. It feels like a decade of history crammed into a single year.

For the development nerds out there, Downtown has never had as many proposed developments as today. That is pretty evident around the 20 minute mark when Scott quickly does through the largest projects on the table today in San Jose. Other topics include COVID impacts, Groundworks, the impressive public arts projects such as Downtown Doors and stunning new murals, and transportation.

Around 35:40, the Golden Nail Award for outstanding design and architecture was presented to the builder and architect of Modera on San Pedro Square. If you haven't seen the new alley next to Modera, it's worth stopping by on your next visit to the San Pedro area. It's impressive and likely to become one of Downtown's hotspots in the future. Two new restaurants and an urgent care facility will also be coming to this building in 2021. The press release for the Golden Nail Award is below.

Enjoy the full presentation over here.

Alley on San Pedro Square earns Golden Nail Award for outstanding design and architecture

New public space creates a new destination within an already successful downtown San Jose destination


SAN JOSE –  The new Alley on San Pedro Square today was recognized for its outstanding design and placemaking.  The Downtown Design Committee of the San Jose Downtown Association honored the builder and architect of the mid-rise Modera on San Pedro Square project with the Golden Nail Element of Distinction Award.


The S-shaped alley creates a new and inviting connection between San Pedro Street and Almaden Avenue in the heart of San Pedro Square, one of the most popular destinations in downtown San Jose.  On one side of the alley is a new residential apartment building with new retail spaces and on the other are several businesses such as Five Points and The Brit set in historic buildings that now offer their customers reinvented and expanded patios facing the alley.


The committee was impressed by the alley’s walkability, connectivity and the way it promotes socialization, said Brian Corbett, chair of the Downtown Design Committee. 


"The new link adds to the already-successful San Pedro Square district,” Corbett said.  “The former hidden gem Tabard Theatre becomes the focal point on the alley.”


“By drawing in people and spurring interaction, this is exactly the kind of design we need in San Jose.  It is now a truly unique urban experience,” he said.


“We are pleased to bring additional housing to downtown," said Don Peterson of Mill Creek and Modera San Pedro Square.  “We had hoped that this signature element of our project would enliven and enrich an already focal point of San Jose."


Rob Steinberg, chairman of Steinberg-Hart, accepted the award on behalf of his architecture firm.


“I’m pleased with how the alley turned out, including  the inviting entry on South Almaden with column detail supporting the overhang,” Steinberg said, adding his appreciation for the project’s scale and how lower and higher elements of the residential building step back from the alley.


“The texture, palette colors, accents of the tile, the railing pattern and the variety of materials really add a richness to what I believe will be a great urban space in downtown San Jose.


“The only thing missing is the people, and they are coming,” Steinberg added.  “I know they will.”


Modera has already attracted two new restaurants and an urgent care facility into retail space along its side of the alley.  


“That is proof that great places attract people and new investment,” Corbett said.


Each year for more than two decades, the Design Review Committee has rewarded projects that contribute excellence and vibrancy to downtown’s built environment with the Golden Nail.

Monday, December 14, 2020

First Annual SoFA Holiday SPECIAL

San Jose is in desperate need for some new events to brighten up the end of 2020 (finally). Filco Events is coming to the rescue with the First Annual SoFA Holiday SPECIAL, an online-only event featuring a dozen local artists performing holiday tunes across multiple streaming channels. The event will also feature San Jose-themed skits, fake news PSAs, and Mighty Mike McGee as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas n the Park.

Tickets are only $4.99 and go towards supporting the local art scene. You can learn more about the event and grab your tickets over here!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Future Downtown Skyline

The Downtown San Jose skyline is going to look quite a bit different in just a few years. The impag below captures less than half of Downtown, but the four new towers in the lower left (200 Park Avenue and J.P. DiNapoli) dwarf the Adobe campus towers. In fact any one of them has similar square footage the all three Adobe towers combined. Eventually the world will go back to normal and it will be amazing to see Downtown continue to transform.

Source: Sharkcity from the San Jose Development Forum

Monday, December 7, 2020

December 2020 Downtown Dimension Highlights

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

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

Entrepreneurs Angie Chua (Bobo Design Studio) and Yuri Lee (Fractal Flora) explain how they progressed from online and artisan show retailers to MOMENT shops and now into their own brick-and-mortar spaces.  It took a lot of hard work to be founding SJMADE members at MOMENT, but it was well worth the effort, they say.  Our lead feature follows their journeys.  

Also this month:
  • Downtown will not be dark during the holidays, thanks to SJDA, the Property-Based Improvement District, First Tech Federal Credit Union and several developers who agree to help Light the Downtown Nights through Jan. 3.  Be sure to have a look at Plaza de Cesar Chavez and environs after dark any day this holiday season. Drive it or stroll it -- and stay safe.
  • Take your own virtual Silicon Valley Santa Run on Dec. 20 and help downtown's holiday events and Reading Partners.
  • Ten more Downtown Doors student artworks posted on downtown service doors and utility boxes have been selected for installation
  • 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.
  • Al fresco dining will extend well into 2021 and restaurants are preparing for colder weather with tents, canopies and outdoor heaters with hopes they can keep customers comfortable and their businesses in survival mode.
  • The City of San Jose hopes for comment on its revised Diridon Station Area Plan.
Have a great, safe and prosperous holiday.
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.

Please rsvp to sjdarsvp@sjdowntown.com and we'll send you a link and pass code.

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