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 


What:

  • 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.

When:

  • 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

Where:

  • 540 S First Street in Downtown San Jose

Why:

  • 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


Who:

  • 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

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Urban Catalyst announces Fund II

Urban Catalyst, one of Downtown San Jose's premier developers, has officially started fundraising for their second round of projects. 

Fund I included multiple projects spanning office space (such as the former Camera 12 Theater), student housing, senior housing, and a hotel. Fund I was so successful it was actually oversubscribed in terms of investment. Their goal was to raise $105 million and they closed funding with $131 million on December 30th of last year.

Fund II involves two large projects, Icon and Echo. One is a residential high-rise with 300 apartments while the other consists of modern office space with large floor plates adding up to 420,000 SQFT. Both will be steps from City Hall and one of our future BART stations. They seem to be around 20 stories and likely reach the maximum height legally allowed.

If you would like to invest in Fund II, you might have to reach deep in your pockets since the minimum investment is $250,000. At least Fund II doesn't close until the end of 2024, giving you some extra time to look under the couch cushions. Construction on the projects is expected to begin in 2022, even before funding officially closes.

For more information and some renders, check out the short video below. If you have your checkbook handy, you can click here.





Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New Gastro Lounge (eventually) coming to SoFA

Post-COVID I think there will be a lot of interesting new places to check out Downtown. One that's definitely on my radar is Good Spot in SoFA. It's a 7,500 SQFT gastro-lounge right in the heart of our arts district founded by a native San Josean.

It's going to have a much more chill atmosphere than a club, as you can probably tell by the sloth on the logo. However, it will eventually have indoor live music and has a slick rooftop patio. There are also plans to turn the second floor into a VIP space, local art gallery, and beer garden overlooking 2nd Street.

The a menu will consist of locally-sourced small plates from Southeast Asia, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine. They'll be in good company as Petiscos is serving up Portugal's version of tapas across the street.

Other places to look forward to are The Guildhouse, a new gamer lounge in SoFA; and San Pedro Social, a Bowling Alley featuring vintage arcades, pool, and karaoke on Santa Clara Street.

Source: San Jose Inside



Friday, February 12, 2021

Singer-songwriter Maddy Michaels release her debut single, Sanity on February 19th, 2021

Maddy Michaels, a singer-songwriter based in San Jose, is releasing her new single entitled "Sanity" next week on Feb 19th. I really like her cover of Head Above Water which you can find over here. Now's the time to support local artists so that hopefully we can enjoy a live music scene in San Jose again later this year (🤞 for summer). Check out Sanity on your favorite streaming platform Feb 19th!

“In sharing my mental health experience with others, I want to let them know they are not alone and encourage them to connect not only to my music but to those around them as we embark on this journey called life” -Maddy Michaels

 

San Jose, CA: The single Sanity from Maddy Michaels makes its digital debut on February 19th, 2021. It conveys her vulnerability and her experience with overwhelming anxiety. The intimate and honest lyrics woven into this pop-power ballad invite listeners to relate and connect to her music. Her message brings awareness to the highly stigmatized topic of mental health and sheds light on the emotional and mental obstacles faced by so many today. Sanity provides listeners with an uplifting message and inspires people to keep moving forward, though the path may be difficult. Michaels hopes her song will bring listeners optimism in 2021 as the world continues to face unprecedented challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Sanity, produced and engineered by West Australian artist HILLOC, features a live band and string arrangement by Kevin Fong that brings the song to new heights. The track features HILLOC on keys, Brad Roberts on Guitar, Sebastian Valencia on Bass, Eric Hart on Drums, Alyssa Barker and Emily Gelineau on Violin, Ben Eyink and Megan Pham on Cello, and Noah Leong and Cecelia Cook on Viola. Cover art by Rachael Ho. 

 

Sanity is available on all streaming platforms on February 19th, 2021. 


Artist Bio: San Jose-based singer-songwriter and performer Maddy Michaels performs across a variety of genres. Her music and uplifting lyrics bring awareness to personal experiences and current social issues. Michaels music encourages audiences to find a path forward during these unprecedented times.  


“Music helps me through difficult times, I use music as a way to express myself and to help bring encouragement to the world.” -Maddy Michaels





Thursday, February 11, 2021

February 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 FEBRUARY Downtown Dimension is now available for download.
 
On the Front Page:  
  • A Downtown Dimension tradition for more than three decades, newly elected San Jose City Councilmembers Matt Mahan and David Cohen answer our questions about their first-term goals.
Also this month:
  • The story behind the new mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the corner of Santa Clara and Market streets.
  • The South Hall continues to serve as temporary housing for the homeless.
  • City of San Jose grant enables San Jose Downtown Foundation to add 10 new Downtown Doors to downtown's public art landscape.
  • Light the Holiday Nights attracts thousands. 
SJDA's next public meeting will be Friday, Feb. 12 at 8:15 a.m. via Zoom.  Featured:  an "exit interview" with Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh, in conversation with  SJDA Executive Director Scott Knies. As director of the Office of Economic Development, Walesh has made a significant contribution to the growth of downtown San Jose over the past 18 years.
 
RSVP through SJDArsvp@sjdowntown.com to receive a link and PIN code to the meeting.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Valentine's Day in San Jose

SJMADE has a handy guide to Valentine's Day gift shopping featuring local artisans and bakers. You can even purchase items and pick them up the next day at the SJMADE Storefront in San Pedro Square.

They have everything from flowers to cards to macaroons. There are plenty of creative gift options for that special someone.

To see the full list of San Jose-made Valentine's Day items, head over here!




Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Outdoor Dining in San Jose is back!

After a two month hiatus, outdoor dining has returned! If you have a favorite restaurant that you would like to keep in business, now is probably a good time to support them. The restaurant industry has not fared as well as the tech industry throughout the pandemic.

Almost all of the Santana Row restaurants appear to be open again. You can click here for the full list. I had a chance to try King's Fish House in the Valley Fair expansion over the weekend--one of the rare new restaurants to open during COVID. It's the only one in Silicon Valley and was pretty spectacular for a chain restaurant. 

Petiscos by ADEGA in Downtown San Jose is an amazing option if you want to try out something new and unique. I don't believe there is another Portuguese tapas restaurant like in anywhere in the Bay Area. 

With the vaccine rolling out and infection rates slowly dropping, hopefully we'll get a bit of normalcy back by Spring 2021!



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

San Jose Fairmont Hotel Remodel Complete

The Fairmont, San Jose's first modern luxury hotel, just completed a $10 million+ renovation. The lobby has been completely redone with a contemporary yet classy look. 

Once COVID is finally over, they will be able to open the new bar and lounge space that greets visitors as they walk into the hotel. Hopefully they will still feature live music and dance lessons. 

I also love the new check-in area. The whole design feels new while somehow giving off a historic vibe--like the hotel has always looked this way. It's worth checking out if you're in the area. Oh, and the room rates are now going for as low as $139/night (base rooms are very large at 450 SQFT).

Source: Silicon Valley Joe from the San Jose Development Forum







Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January 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 JANUARY 2021 Downtown Dimension is now available for download.

 
On the Front Page:  
  • SJDA Board of Directors President Katia McClain offers some personal insights about the past year and year ahead.
  • A new alley that blends old and new into a fantastic urban space was recognized as the best downtown design of the year and rewarded with the annual Golden Nail Award from the Downtown Design Committee.
Also this month:
  • Restaurants are going to have a chance to make a little bit more revenue thanks to county and city leaders putting caps on meal delivery fees.
  • Six new businesses have opened recently, including a new sushi spot at San Pedro Square Market, Scott's Chowder House and a new small-plates restaurant in SoFA district by the owners of Adaga, the only Michelin-starred restaurant ever in San Jose.
  • Meet Eric Glader, SJDA's first Community Engagement Director.
  • VTA like the railings it put up on the Second Street Transit Mall and thinks they will help light-rail trains breeze through downtown a little faster.
Have a great, safe and healthful New Year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

High-rise residential village proposed for Five Wounds neighborhood

The first big new development proposal of 2021 is actually outside of Downtown San Jose. A seven-building project called Vila de Camila would rise just a couple blocks away from the proposed BART station behind Five Wounds Portuguese National Church.

With a mix of 942 residences and office space across 3 acres, this would be one of the most dense projects in San Jose. Most buildings would be 16-stories tall with one seven-story building. There is even a potential expansion with four more towers that would result in between 1,200 and 1,300 residential units.

This may be a longshot as several amendments to the general plan would be required--including raising building heights, density, and widening the urban village boundary. However, this is exactly the type of projected needed close to mass transit like BART that will help San Jose grow in a sustainable way.

Source: SVBJ