Tuesday, June 15, 2021

3Below Theaters reopening plans

I'm thrilled that Downtown San Jose's only remaining movie theater has somehow survived the pandemic. Over the past year they tried every creative option imaginable to stay afloat, including socially distanced date nights on the roof using outdoor screens.

3Below is planning to come back full-force, with blockbuster like Black Widow as well as indie films, sing-alongs, live theater, and ComedySportz. They are also upping their food and drink selection with gourmet hot dogs, veggie skewers, waffle desserts, vegan treats, beer, and wine. There's even a tabletop arcade in the lobby.

For all of the details, read the press release below. 3Below is one of the most unique movie theaters in the Bay Area, so please visit if you would like to keep them around!

And Now…Please Enjoy Our Feature Presentation

3Below Theaters in Downtown San Jose is Now Open for Film, Food, and Fun

Live Theater, ComedySportz, Classes to reopen in September

(San Jose, CA    |   June 1, 2021)   Guggenheim Entertainment, operator of 3Below Theaters in Downtown San Jose, has a message for movie fans: It's time to return to theaters! After over a year of being shuttered, theaters around the country are welcoming guests back to the movies. As Downtown San Jose's only movie theater, 3Below Theater is ready to welcome moviegoers for summer blockbusters like In The Heights and Black Widow as well as award-winning independent films, classic and retro movies, and later this year, the return of their wildly popular sing-along cinema experiences. 3Below is also home to San Jose Playhouse, the producers' newly dubbed professional live theatre company. Live entertainment including musicals, theater for young audiences, classes, community programming, and ComedySportz is expected to reopen in September 2021.

Reopening 3Below for movies is a significant milestone for Downtown San Jose as it resumes normal operation after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed its entertainment and nightlife industries for more than a year. 3Below has a major part to play because of its history as a vital piece of downtown San Jose’s entertainment destinations. "We are committed to doing all we can to stay alive," reports producer and film programmer, Scott Guggenheim. "It has been terrifically challenging to stay positive and imagine a time when entertainment will fully reopen but with so much invested in the venue since its reimagining in 2018, we owe it to ourselves, our team, and our supporters to press on. We also feel we owe it to our community. The residents of Downtown San Jose and our friends and fans in neighboring communities deserve a unique entertainment destination like 3Below, and with the venue's long history - opening in 1984 and still going strong - the venue deserves to be celebrated and attended for years to come.”

With vaccines readily available and restrictions loosening nationwide, studios have begun releasing long-delayed titles, resulting in hours of summer movie entertainment filling up the roster. Though still the only South Bay location to enjoy independent, art, foreign, and documentary films like "Queen Bees", "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It", and "Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)", 3Below is also adding new releases to the schedule like "Here Today", "Cruella", "In the Heights", "Black Widow", "Jungle Cruise", "Stillwater", "Respect", and the highly anticipated "The Beatles: Get Back" by filmmaker Peter Jackson. 

The cafe in the 3Below lobby has also had a facelift, not only to its decor but to the menu. Guests will enjoy a wider range of freshly-made food and beverages to enjoy before, during, or after events. The eatery features gourmet hot dogs, meat and veggie skewers, waffle desserts, gourmet coffee, and beer and wine; vegan and gluten free options available. Validated parking is provided for the parking garage located above the theaters.

As eager as everyone is to return to "normal", 3Below's team is fully aware that many are being cautious before venturing out. 3Below's operations manager, Sherrol Simard, wants fans to know, "We will continue to enforce a number of safety protocols – known as 'CinemaSafe' – in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep guests and employees healthy. We encourage guests to order tickets online in advance to minimize standing in lines or handling paper tickets. We are still limiting each auditorium to 50% capacity. Guests and employees are required to wear face masks at all times in the lobby and in the theaters, only removing them to eat or drink. When refilling popcorn and drinks, your cup or bucket will be exchanged for a new one." A page dedicated to Covid-19 Patron Guidelines can be found on 3Below’s website.

The producers at 3Below hope the community will once again look at the venue as a "third place." Producer Shannon Guggenheim understands "many people have been isolating at home for the better part of fourteen months and might be looking for a place to be other than home and work. We invite you to make 3Below your 'third place' and come hang out in our lobby to enjoy the ambience, great tunes, and the tabletop arcade game station. It's a place to do homework, use the free WiFi while sipping on our homemade lemonade. And it's where to spend an evening with the family watching a new movie and sharing a meal before taking some premium Italian gelato to go."

3Below closed the theater doors in mid-March 2020 and furloughed nearly all of its employees. All live productions and classes were cancelled/postponed. With theaters closed worldwide, movie studios delayed releases to 2021 or released to streaming services. These tough decisions have made it doubly difficult for a small theater to stay open. Even with the highly enjoyable "Up on the Roof" festival presented with the San Jose Downtown Association in October 2020, and a brief Oscar FilmFest in April, the amount of people who were willing to face a pandemic to catch a film was small. The Guggenheims hope patrons will look forward to returning to theaters to see some great films this summer. "We hope you will choose our family-operated, locally-owned venue as your location of choice to go back to the movies."

Visit 3BelowTheaters.com to see what's now playing and coming soon, as well as get information on job opportunities in the 3Below box office and cafe.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience coming to San Jose on Sep 24

Finally, events are returning to the San Jose McEnery Center! Nederlander Concerts & Beyond Exhibitions is presenting Beyond Van Gogh for a limited engagement in San Jose. Over 300 of Van Gogh's artwork will be projected onto walls, set in motion, and paired with music and narration.

Prices start at $34.99 for adults and $24.99 for kids. There are also VIP packages that come with a giftbag. You can learn more and book a time slot over here.




SAN JOSE, CA — JUNE 2, 2021 —  Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (www.vangoghsanjose.com), proudly presented by Nederlander Concerts & Beyond Exhibitions, will open at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center – South Hall on September 24. Open for a limited engagement, Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience was created by French-Canadian Creative Director Mathieu St-Arnaud and his team at Montreal’s world-renowned Normal Studio.  This exhilarating experience features more than 300 of Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic artworks, exciting the art lovers' senses through a three-dimensional lens in a way that’s never been experienced before.  Guests will walk through an all-new, exclusively designed space which will transport them into Van Gogh’s world, becoming one of the brush strokes on his colorful canvasses and illuminating the senses.

Prices start at $34.99 for adults and $24.99 for children, plus the addition of ticketing fees. This world-renowned art experience will be open for a limited-time, so be sure to get tickets while they are still available.  Tickets are on-sale Friday, June 4 at www.vangoghsanjose.com.

“We are beyond thrilled to bring Beyond Van Gogh’s art to life in San Jose,” says Mathieu St-Arnaud, Normal Studio.

Cinematic Van Gogh exhibitions have crossed the ocean from European cities to North America in recent years and met with great critical acclaim, with sold out audiences in every market. In a distinctive and unique multimedia artistic adventure, using cutting-edge multi-dimensional projection technology developed by some of the world’s greatest Audio Visual designers and technicians, Beyond Van Gogh encompasses the same iconic flare of Van Gogh’s vast body of work, with a refreshing new twist unlike anything art lovers have seen before. Using the artist’s own dreams, thoughts, and words to drive an unmatched narrative experience, Van Gogh’s exquisite works on projection-swathed walls invite guests to fully immerse themselves in his swirling and colorful flowers, cafes and stunning landscapes.

While journeying through Beyond Van Gogh guests witness his stunning masterpieces, including instantly-recognizable classics such as “The Starry Night”, “Sunflowers”, and ‘Café Terrace at Night”, now freed from their frames. Van Gogh’s art is thrillingly brought to life by appearing and disappearing, flowing across walls, floors and ceilings, captivating and enveloping guests into the incredible detail of his work. A new appreciation of this tortured artists’ stunning work will undoubtedly emerge as guests travel through, hearing Van Gogh’s own words set to a symphonic score.  It’s no surprise that millions of people all over the world credit Van Gogh with enhancing their relationship with art. Beyond Van Gogh will only strengthen that connection.

As immersive art installations deeply resonate around the globe, Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience continues to amaze audiences and will stay in San Jose for a limited engagement before moving across North America. Art lovers near and far will have the opportunity to live this truly unique and unforgettable experience.


About Normal Studio:

Pushing the boundaries of performing arts, entertainment, and public installations since 2009, Normal Studio believes in making life legendary. Using multimedia magic and fusing physical and technological elements to transform spaces into full-on immersive experiences, Normal Studio tells stories in new and different ways by reimagining what’s possible. The result is a unique adventure that sparks awe and wonder, making an unforgettable impact on people’s everyday lives.


About Beyond Exhibitions:
Beyond Exhibitions is a company comprised of like-minded individuals who have worked across the globe with some of the greatest entertainers and brands known to man.  With Beyond Van Gogh, the team brings their collective understanding of audiences, entertainment, and art together to proudly present Vincent Van Gogh like he has never been seen before.


About Nederlander Concerts:

Nederlander Concerts promotes and produces a wide range of quality live entertainment throughout the United States and in 2020 was ranked among the top 20 promoters in the country.  A boutique, independent event promotion firm, Nederlander exclusively operates and programs the most coveted and awarded small to mid-sized venues, including the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, City National Grove of Anaheim, San Jose Civic, and California Performing Arts Center in San Jose, Heart Health Park in Sacramento,  among others. Also, the company promotes events at third party arenas, theatres, and clubs across the country, including the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, San Diego Civic, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester and many more.

Friday, June 4, 2021


With some of the highest vaccination rates in the world (more on that in another post), it's time for San Jose to come back full-force this summer. Today will be the biggest South FIRST FRIDAY since the pandemic started. There are in-person exhibits to enjoy at ANNO DOMINI, Art Ark Gallery, KALEID Gallery, MACHU PICCHU Gallery of the Americas, MACLA, and the SoFA Market. For directions to each gallery and all of the details head over here.

As a side note, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles will be reopening this month with a members and artists weekend on June 11-13 and a full reopening on June 18-20.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

June 2021 Downtown Dimension Highlights

 The JUNE Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
This month's newsletter highlights:  
  • Dine Downtown returns starting July 1.  The "Restaurant Week" won't be as long as it was last fall, but it has been extended to 18 days this time around.  Some of downtown's best restaurants have already signed up, and more are expected to join the fun this month. Get ready to explore new places and visit longtime favorites.
  • Two new entertainment venues are set to open in downtown San Jose.  San Pedro Social Club opens with bowling lanes, a first for downtown.  And in SoFA, you will find the best gamers in the area battling it out for bragging rights.  The experience includes food, drink, games and a lot of social. Post-pandemic, it may be just what the doctor orders.
  • The North San Pedro housing area is starting to fill up, with the opening of The Julian, added financing for an affordable housing project set to be finished this year, and a land sale that may lead to the start of another residential project sooner than anticipated.
  • Santa Clara County Supervisors adopted Laura's Law, an important step in assisting individuals with untreated severe mental illness.
  • ParkSJ parking meters and garages now offer contactless payments. Just tap your credit card or ApplePay device over the receiver and you are good to go.
  • Happy 50th anniversary to Togo's, which started in San Jose and has grown to almost 200 locations throughout the West.
  • William Quevedo is celebrated as Groundwerx's Employee of the Month.
  • For the ultimate boba and tea drink, try Dr.Ink off San Pedro Square.
  • Fall will be a transition semester at San Jose State, with students in classrooms, at home online and some hybrid classes.  Faculty returns in July and classes begin Aug. 18.

SJDA’s next public meeting will be Friday, June 11 at 8:15 a.m. via Zoom. The agenda includes a presentation by Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez on mental health and homeless solutions. Register in advance for this webinar at tinyurl.com/sjda-june-11.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Supporting VTA shooting victims and their families

I'm still in shock over the tragedy that happened today in the VTA Light rail station. The incident made national news and even received a personal statement from President Biden. Government facilities across the country will be flying their flags at half mast.

Likely the most direct way to help the victims and their families is to make a donation. You can con contribute through Working Partnerships USA over here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

San Hauntse: Mysteries of San Jose

Manuel Ávalos and Carmen Sánchez have teamed up to host San Hauntse, which is "the only actively running podcast that seeks to document every haunted place and urban legend of the San Jose area." I'm blown away at how much content there is on the site (and I love the logo). 

I still remember hearing the San Felipe Road urban legends as a kid, not to mention the many Winchester Mystery House stories. Manuel and Carmen go in depth into the history of many famous San Jose landmarks and popular stories. It's entertaining and well produced, check it out over here!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Large-scale art is featured on new Regional Wastewater Facility building

Artwork and murals are now abundant throughout Downtown, but other parts of San Jose are getting artistic love as well. A now Cogeneration Facility in San Jose features a massive artwork installation with lights to brighten would could be a bland industrial facility at night.

It's a nice touch that serves as a reminder that we shouldn't have to settle for cookie-cutter buildings anymore in San Jose. We're a global city, it's time to start looking like one!

For more info on the art by Buster Simpson, click here.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Urban Catalyst replacing Garden City Casino with a large mixed-use project

The former Garden City Casino and Harry's Hofbrau area in West San Jose is going to get a significant overhaul. Urban Catalyst would like to build a mixed-use project combining office space, residential, a senior living complex, and a hotel.

Each of these four elements would have it's own dedicated building. Along Saratoga you'll find the office building and hotel. The offices would clock in around 300,000 SQFT across nine stories. The hotel would have 175 rooms, with suitability for both for short and long-term accommodations (I think this will mean two hotel brands sharing the same back-of-house resources and staff). One really neat feature is a rooftop deck above the hotel lobby (or lobbies) with the swimming pool and amenity space.

The residential building will house 425-450 apartments across eight stories. A separate senior living and memory care facility will have 165 units.

This seems like quite a nice proposal. The only element missing is retail--it would be great to see some restaurants and stores on the ground floor of all the buildings. However, Santana Row and Valley Fair are less than a mile away so this is not as critical for this particular area.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, May 10, 2021

Google Mega Campus Updates

Google has received unanimous approval from the planning commission to build its massive campus around Diridon. The final step is City Council approval on May 25th, which is all but assured at this point. 

The overall scope of the is staggering--it's the largest proposal in history for Downtown and perhaps all of Silicon Valley. The first phase alone includes 4.17 million SQFT of office space, 3,130 homes, and several new community plazas. That phase is just HALF of the project. Even more impressive, developers will get the opportunity to build up to 6.4 million SQFT of office space, 7,000 housing units, and 536,000 SQFT of retail around Google's project. Collectively, the area will be called "Downtown West."

Building heights will range from 170 feet o 295 feet. Construction on city streets and infrastructure is slated for 2022 and will take until at least until 2031 to complete the entire project. When complete, this will be Google's largest campus in the world.

As a side note, Google has also promised $200M in community benefits if the Downtown West plan comes to fruition. This includes homeless services, job opportunities for local residents, five acres of new parks and trails available to all, and affordable housing.

Friday, May 7, 2021


South FIRST FRIDAYS are coming back to life! Last month was a success with plenty of socially distanced traffic venturing into several venues in and around SoFA. This month new works will be featured at Anno Domini, Art Ark Gallery, Citadel Art Gallery, KALEID (I love their new space at 320 South First), Machu Picchu Gallery of the Americas, the SoFA Market, and San Jose Jazz. To see the full list head over here.

While you're in the area don't forget to check out SoFA's newest restaurants featuring small plates and craft cocktails: Petiscos by ADEGA and The Good Spot.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

May 2021 Downtown Dimension Highlights

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

The MAY Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
This month's newsletter highlights:  
  • Details of Google's agreement with the City of San Jose were unveiled.  Community benefits total $200 million overall, including $150 million for housing education and jobs training.  Small business will also get support, and at an SJDA meeting, a Google representative shared where the first shovels are likely to go into the ground -- and in just a few years from now.
  • The Downtown San Jose Farmers' Market is moving to the block of South First Street between San Salvador and William streets. OPENING DAY:  MAY 7.  Fresh produce and artisan items will be available each Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. We're counting on a good turnout -- see you there.
  • Groundwerx's employees of the month put up some large numbers when it comes to their core efforts cleaning the sidewalks, and removing trash and graffiti.
  • The MOMENT shops on San Pedro Street have proven successful locally as a retail destination and now, thanks to attention by The Knight Foundation and Gehl, are gaining national attention.
  • Al Fresco dining will continue in San Jose at least through Dec. 31.
  • Five new businesses have opened in recent months.  Today, see you at the Good Spot in SoFA, which is having its Grand Opening.
  • Three more businesses -- Hoge FentonCreaTV and Poor House Bistro -- are announcing moves and all are staying downtown.
Enjoy the May edition.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Good Spot grand opening tomorrow, May 1st!

Another flagship restaurant is opening in SoFA across from Petiscos, the SoFA Market, and Haberdasher. The Good Spot is a modern gastro-lounge featuring a variety of tasty small plates and craft cocktails. 

I had a chance to preview it during their soft opening, and was really impressed with the quality of their food across the board. I tried the deviled eggs with crispy brussels sprouts, adobo wing lollipops, long life garlic noodles, sweet potato fries with spicy banana ketchup, and an avocado tostada with fried cheese. I'd recommend all of them, seriously. What was most surprising was how inexpensive the food was compared to similar quality restaurants in the Bay Area. I can't wait to go back and try more of the menu.

The team behinds the new restaurant comes from a solid pedigree. Good Spot owner, Thoi Trinh, was an executive at Chris Yeo Group which launched Sino, Straits, and Roots & Rye at Santana Row. Chef Timothy Luym worked at Poleng Lounge, SF Chickenbox, and Brew Coop.

While the interior is quite spacious (and open at 50% capacity), there is also a large outdoor patio in front of the restaurant right on First Street. I really hope they keep the outdoor space post-COVID as it really changes the dynamic of the street. Apparently there is also a 2nd floor that they could open in the future.

The grand opening featuring an assortment of VIPs is tomorrow, May 1st at 1pm. The ribbon-cutting will be followed by a Vietnamese lion dance at 2pm, then cocktail hour at 3pm, and finally dinner specials and a late night happy hour. The full press release is below and you can learn more over here.

SAN JOSE -- Owner Thoi Trinh and managing partners Sammy Sok and Ivy Li of Good Spot, 386 S. First St., promise good food, good drinks and good company at their new SoFA establishment, opening Saturday, May 1 at 1 p.m. in downtown’s SoFA District.

The gastro-lounge offers a unique small-plate menu and large selection of curated wines, beers, spirits and handcrafted and batched cocktails.  Cocktails include Dirty Old Man (rendition of a Japanese-style Old Fashion); Hangtime Cooler (refreshing, crisp, perfect for summertime); and Costa Rican Canopy (your sensual jungle experience).

Food-wise, popular favorites will include Adobo Wing Lollipops, Long Life Garlic Noodles and Chimichurri Hanger Steak.

Good Spot owner Thoi Trinh worked his way up from entry level to senior executive level for local and global hospitality brands. Most recently, he was Corporate Director for Chris Yeo Group, a pioneering Asian Fusion restaurant company, with endearing concepts such as Sino, Straits and Roots & Rye.

Chef Timothy Luym, recognized as a San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star chef, made his name at pioneering Asian street food restaurant Poleng Lounge and more recently led culinary operations for SF Chickenbox and Brew Coop. 

At Good Spot, the owners focus on the customer experience:

The set-up is divided into sections the owners describe as “a fine-casual dining section, a set of communal tables ready for an impromptu business meeting, a highly Instagrammable corner reminiscent of a busy sidewalk café,  and a lounge where big-city feels will sneak up on you when you least expect it.”

Their story on goodspotsj.com continues:  “Good Spot imagines a community junction where locals and visitors can gather in the neighborhood’s living room; a place where differences stay at the door, strong bonds become stronger, and new memories flourish.”

The owners intentionally created the Good Spot with an “ambition to both honor and respond to the unique character of the place that birthed it.  That is downtown’s South First Area -- or SoFA District -- a place with a history of glitz and entertainment that fell on hard times in the 1970s and ’80s and now the arts and cultural hub of Silicon Valley’s downtown.

Their On the SoFA outdoor lounge is open on weekends for now with an all-day happy hour.

Follow Good Spot on Instagram and Facebook @goodspotsj. Phone (408) 816-8841.

Good Spot’s Grand Opening ribbon-cutting event will be held at 1pm Saturday. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilman Raul Peralez, San Jose Downtown Association Executive Director Scott Knies will make brief remarks, followed by a traditional Vietnamese Dragon Dance. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Breeze of Innovation chosen as San Jose's new Light Tower

Out of 963 submissions from 72 countries, Urban Confluence has a winner for their contest to design San Jose's next landmark. The submissions had to be inspired by the San Jose Light Tower, which was one of San Jose's most innovative achievements at the time. 

The lucky winner was Breeze of Innovation by Fernando Jerez and Belén Pérez de Juan of SMAR Architecture Studio. The design symbolizes people standing and working together and each of the rods in the images below are designed to sway in the wind to create a dynamic visual effect. The rods will also generate the power to illuminate the 200 foot-tall tower.

While it is difficult to see in the images below, there will be a conical void inside of the tower (in a shape similar to the original San Jose Light Tower) that will include multiple levels of walkways, a viewing platform at the top, exhibition space, and space for a café.

For more information on the ~$100 million project, head over here!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Gyu-Kaku and Serious Dumplings are coming to San Pedro Square

Two major restaurants are coming are coming to San Pedro Square that will compliment the rest of Dowtown San Jose's "restaurant row." Both Gyu-Kaku and Serious Dumplings will be added to the recently finished Modera residential project in a former parking lot between The Old Spaghetti Factory and O'Flaherty's Pub.

Gyu-Kaku is a Japanese BBQ (Izakaya I believe) place that already has a loyal following in Cupertino. It will be one of the higher-end places Downtown and is likely to be a popular spot for parties and events.

Serious Dumplings will be a new kind of restaurant for Downtown San Jose. I don't believe we have ever had a dumpling restaurant. I imagine it will be similar to the Michelin recommended Din Tai Fung in Valley Fair, but more low key and less expensive. Come to think of it, I'm not sure we have had a Japanese BBQ place either.

I think it's safe to say the combination of these two places is a big upgrade from Peggy Sue's (while I did enjoy their burgers as well). I'm excited about having an even more diverse array of restaurants to choose from in San Pedro Square. The selection is expected to grow even further as there are three more retail pads to lease at Modera and additional retail spots are opening soon in and around the ground floor of 188 St. James (Silvery Towers). 

If our remaining restaurants can hang on a bit longer, 2021 could end up becoming the best year ever for Downtown San Jose dining.

Source: San Jose Development Forum

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April 2021 Downtown Dimension Highlights

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

Happy New Year - Welcome to 2021!

The APRIL Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
On the Front Page:  
  • After 21 years, the Friday Downtown San Jose Farmers' Market is moving to the block of South First Street between San Salvador and William streets. Fresh produce and artisan items will be available each Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. starting May 7.  The article explains why the changing is happening and enthusiastic reactions from SoFA businesses.
  • SJDA Board President Katia McClain, an architect at Steinberg Hart, offers her professional perspective of the Future of Downtown San Jose.  With all the multiple high-rises being built and proposed, the action -- or interaction -- should be at street level.  And construction along Park Avenue will be the prototype, McClain says.
  • Thanks to Federal stimulus funds likely available for Fiscal Year 2021-22, Mayor Sam Liccardo has requested City staff followup on a number of initiatives with downtown ramifications.  
Also this month:
  • SJDA interviews a recent new downtown resident making the move from Miami to our city.  He gives his first impressions.
  • We'll all enjoy a cleaner Guadalupe River Park.
  • Looking forward to the re-opening of the former Fairmont, with new name, this summer.
  • New lineup of retailers at MOMENT shops at San Pedro Square.

SJDA's next public meeting
 will be Friday, April 9 at 8:15 a.m. via Zoom.  The agenda includes a review of the Downtown West development agreement with Google followed by guest speaker Zulma Maciel, director of the city's Office of Racial Equity.
Register at https://tinyurl.com/apr9mtg.

Speaking of MOMENT at San Pedro Square:  The Knight Foundation, which provided the funding to clear the way for an innovative project to activate ground-floor garage space into retail shops for entrepreneurs, has studied a number of projects nationwide, including MOMENT, and has identified what makes the project successful.  To read about it, start with this blog from Chris Thompson, Knight Foundation's program director for San Jose.r.

Friday, April 2, 2021

South FIRST FRIDAY is today!

South FIRST FRIDAYs are coming back! The weather is amazing, COVID rates are dropping, and slowly but surely we are going to get back to normal--perhaps better than normal as we will appreciate what we have more.

This month participating galleries are Anno Domini (366 South First), Art Ark (1035 South Sixth), KALEID (320 South First), MACHU PICCHU (199 Martha -- new gallery?), San Jose Jazz (300 South First), MACLA (510 South First), and the SoFA Market (387 South First). 

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and Works San Jose will have online exhibitions. This looks like it will be the most significant art event in San Jose in over a year. For more information, head over here.

I will also remind everyone that many restaurants have resumed indoor dining. The SoFA Market is now open indoors with 25% capacity while Petiscos and many other traditional restaurants are open at 50%. Haberdasher and other bars in SoFA can also sell drinks outdoors without customers having to buy food. The newest gastrolounge in SoFA--the Good Spot--has a soft opening this Saturday starting at 11am. I can't wait to see what SoFA will look like a month from now.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Silicon Valley Annual Check-up

In the video below Joint Venture CEO Russel Hancock summarizes the key learnings from the 2021 Silicon Valley Index. This year, special attention was paid to the impacts of the Coronavirus on our local economy. Other topics include income inequality, racial demographics, housing imbalances, patent registrations, and venture capital funding. The presentation provides an objective look at how our region is doing compared to previous years as well as the rest of the country.

If you find the content interesting, you can also read the whole 150-page study over here.

Monday, March 15, 2021

St. Patty's Day in Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose will be illuminated in green until March 17th for St. Patrick's Day. If you are in the area, these are the places you should pay special attention to:

  • Security and Leticia Buildings at 70 S. First St.
  • Twohy Building at 210 S. First St.
  • The Pavilion at 150 S. First St.
  • Circle of Palms on S. Market Street.
  • Post Street between S. Market and S First streets
  • San Pedro Square
  • Fairmont Anex
  • Bamboo Panda Mural on S. First St.
"Lucky the Leprechaun" will also be making an appearance at more than 30 different Downtown businesses. If you find him, take a photo and share it on social media with #DTSJlucky or #DTSJlove to be entered in a drawing for gift cards.

If you're looking for themed events, Ludwig's German Table will have a St. Patty's Day stand up comedy show featuring 5 local comics, Mezcal will be serving up Green Margarita's, and Plant Lush is discounting their Oxalis "shamrock" plants by 17% this week (if you find one with a 4-leaf clover it's free).

We could use a bit of luck right now, as could our local businesses so let's support them!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

March 2021 Downtown Dimension Highlights

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

The MARCH Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
On the Front Page:  
  • Learn about what international developer Westbank and local developer Urban Community have planned for downtown San Jose.  Five large projects designed by some of the world's best architects.  The Orchard. Energy Hub. Park Habitat. Arbor. And the renovation of the Bank of Italy.  We explain why Westbank has chosen San Jose to be be its fifth city of major investment, joining Vancouver, Toronto, Tokyo and Seattle.
  • San Jose police have a plan to curb robberies, burglaries and quality-of-life crimes and Dimension has the details.
Also this month:
  • SJDA opens a dog park in SoFA District.
  • Natural Sweet Delight opens in SoFA Market.  The co-owners are among several new downtown businesses that chose to open during the pandemic, investing in the future of downtown.
  • The Chef's Market came up with positive results.  Five downtown eateries gave a meal to a person in need for every meal sold to customers.
SJDA's next public meeting will be Friday, April 9 at 8:15 a.m. via Zoom.  Te agenda includes a presentation on the Westbank / Urban Community projects and guest speaker is Zulma Maciel, director of the city'sOffice of Racial Equity.
RSVP through SJDArsvp@sjdowntown.com to receive a link and PIN code to the meeting.

Friday, March 5, 2021

We're back in the Red Tier, indoor dining is back!

This week we officially went from a Covid tier status of purple to red, which means indoor dining is open for business again! Hopefully restaurants will never close like this again (everyone please get your vaccine as soon as you can). As a reminder the scale goes from purple, to red, to orange, and finally to yellow which has the fewest restrictions.

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. 

What else can we look forward to in the red tier? Movie theaters can reopen at 25% as can museums, zoos, and aquariums. Stores can now operate at 50% capacity. Even indoor gyms can finally reopen, albeit at a meager 10% capacity.

California is also planning to ease the requirements to get into less restrictive tiers when we hit two different milestone. The first is when we distribute 2 million vaccines in the most disadvantaged zip codes, and then when we hit 4 million vaccines in those same areas.

The stats have been looking very promising in the Bay Area--let's hope this nightmare ends soon and the post-covid era will be another Roarin' 20s.

Monday, March 1, 2021

SoFA Dog Park now open

We need more active public spaces to help brighten San Jose, especially as we move towards a post-COVID19 world. The smaller projects the build culture and a sense of place are just as important as the high-rise development proposals we're getting. 

A new dog park has just opened in San Jose and it's right in the heart of Downtown San Jose's artsy SoFA district. It features separate play areas for big and small dogs, benches, sanitizing stations, waste bags, and water bowls.

Next to the dog park will be a Demonstration Garden set to open in late Spring with planters, a Veggielution farmstand, and flexible furniture. The farmstand will sell fruit and vegetables but there will also be a food truck and carts to allow for pop-up events.

Together, this will make for a pretty cool space in SoFA to compliment several new restaurants, lounges, and development projects coming to the area (seriously, everyone should check out Petiscos by ADEGA--amazing restaurant).

The new pocket park is located at 540 S. First Street and is open from 7am to 8pm every day. A Grand Opening is planned for April 2021 and the full press release is below.

SoFA Dog Park Opening Day Fact Sheet

Presented by the San Jose Downtown Association

Thursday, Feb. 18 | 10 am - 1 pm | 540 S. 1st Street 


  • SoFA Pocket Park (dog park-portion only) opening 

  • This is a fun, inviting space for dogs, dog owners and the community to enjoy

  • "Another way to activate public spaces for the community in a positive way."

  • Dog park will feature artificial turf, a double-entry gate, outdoor furniture, basic dog amenities and separate areas for bigger and smaller dogs 

  • Demonstration Garden (opens in late Spring) will feature raised planter beds, garden storage, farmstand, and movable furniture. The farmstand will sell fresh fruit and vegetables and occasionally offer pop-up events through their food truck and food carts.

Visuals:  Dogs and people playing together. We have five owners and canines reserved to be at the park from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday.


  • Thursday, Feb. 18 from 10 am - 1 pm

  • Daily Hours: 7 am - 8 pm (subject to change) 

  • "Pocket Park" Grand Opening planned for April 2021 - includes demonstration garden


  • 540 S First Street in Downtown San Jose


  • To revitalize an underutilized lot and transform it into a temporary area for the community until the ownership’s development team moves forward with a permanent project

  • Wanted to provide a fun, lively, inviting space for dogs, dog owners and the downtown community to enjoy and hang out in (while socially distanced and wearing masks)

  • A fun addition to the South First Area (SoFA District) 

  • Dogs and their dog owners usually stop by the small strip of grass outside of where the SoFA Pocket Park currently is, so this park will provide these pets and their owners a fun little space to enjoy on their daily walks

  • “Mission to bring people together to activate downtown San Jose in new and positive ways.” - Urban Community principal Jeff Arrillaga

  • “Public space has never been more valued and important as we deal with the confines of daily life during the pandemic. SoFA Pocket Park is a non-traditional public space that combines a dog park -- open now -- and a community garden -- coming soon.  Our goal was to create a little oasis in the midst of downtown that will offer some pleasurable respite and be welcoming to everyone.”  - Scott Knies, Executive Director of the San Jose Downtown Association


  • Presented by the San Jose Downtown Association with Veggielution

  • Property Owner:  Urban Community

  • Sponsors: Knight Foundation, Urban Catalyst, Topa Architecture, Google, Urban Community, Hamilton Builders, JJ Perez Paving

  • Dog park will be maintained by downtown’s Property Based Improvement District (PBID)

  • Demonstration Garden will be operated and maintained by Veggielution

    • Project partner, Veggielution, is an urban farm from East San Jose expanding their presence downtown to generate opportunities for their food entrepreneur incubator program, Eastside Grown. 

  • This park is for local residents and the greater community