Friday, June 30, 2023

One of my favorite quotes about Downtown San Jose

This Silicon Valley Business Journal article came out almost two years ago, yet I've kept it bookmarked all this time as it has one of my all-time favorite comments about Downtown San Jose. It comes from Gary Dillabough, a real estate investor with Urban Communities working on multiple projects throughout Downtown San Jose--including the Paseo project mentioned over the weekend.

“You need to change people’s mindsets because I think a lot of the mindset here is that ‘pretty good is OK.’ And that San Jose is, ‘we’re just a second-tier city, and for us to think of being a top-tier city is a little too aspirational.’ I think that’s absolutely incorrect. When you really look at all the infrastructure, the people, the companies, the weather — the list goes on and on — this should truly be one of the country’s greatest cities.

Jeff (Arrillaga) and I are spending a lot of time just trying to help people think about it: Just don’t be ‘pretty good’ — let’s be exceptional. I think you start with that vision, then you have a mindset, and then how do you start to create some momentum?" 

-Gary Dillabough interviewed by J. Jennings Moss

This still resonates in 2023. Despite the pandemic, the collapse of the commercial real estate market, and all of the other reasons why Downtown San Jose should have failed year-after-year... a chance at true success has never felt closer. The quality of the projects being proposed far exceeds what we were seeing 10 or 20 years ago, and something about Downtown's brand is just different. We're not trying to be San Francisco or even Palo Alto. Proprietors, artists, and restauranteurs are trying to build things that are exceptional and uniquely San Jose. It's okay to be aspirational and there is no need to be like X or Y. San Jose is a city litteraly built around innovation, all we have to do is be ourselves.

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