Monday, June 17, 2024

Google might bring an affordable housing project to Downtown San Jose

Google still has one foot in the door for their ambitious Downtown San Jose plans. A mixed-used project with millions of square feet of office buildings in a neighborhood now dubbed "Downtown West" have been put on hold, but Google has continued some of their projects to build culture and vibrancy around the new district. Now it looks like they might move forward with an affordable housing project where an old Orchard Supply Hardware store once stood (San Jose company btw).

Earlier this year they razed a building at 720 West San Carlos and now they are evaluating building an affordable housing project on this site. If there were to move forward, it would signal that Google is still serious about investing in Downtown San Jose. If they return to the original plan, up to 20,000 employees could be working in of the capital of Silicon Valley. The economic impact and cultural impact would be significant, especially considering Google has some of the highest median salaries of any company on Earth.

Source: The Mercury News


Sunday, June 16, 2024

BART to Silicon Valley Phase 2 construction officially begins

After decades of planning, the 2nd phase of BART's extension into San Jose (and Santa Clara) is underway. Construction has started in Brokaw Road in Santa Clara and is expected to create 75,000 jobs.

Phase 1 opened about four years ago with the Milpitas and Berryessa/North San Jose station. Phase 2 will be much more complicated as it requires a subway to be built for three of the stations and will utilize a tunneling method that has been done in the United States. Impact to Downtown San Jose and local businesses should be much less using this method over traditional "cut and cover" subway construction.

The 2nd phase is expected to cost $13 billion and be ready for use in 12 years. The initial estimate was a price tag of $4.4 billion and an opening in 2026. Hopefully there will be some ways to reduce cost and expedite the timeline in the near future.

Source: The Mercury News

Friday, June 14, 2024

New housing project near SoFA gets funding

166 apartments (164 of which are designated as affordable units) are slated for 802 South First Street just outside the traditional boundaries of Downtown San Jose. The site is just south of Highway 280, a few blocks away from SoFA. The six-story building also includes 1,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail. 

The project will cost nearly $100 million. Fortunately, PNC is willing to finance $66 million of that between a construction loan and bridge loan. The rest will be mostly made up by state-backed financing.

The goal is to kick off construction by September with an expected completion date of 2026.

Source: The Mercury News

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Unique open house in South San Jose this Saturday - 6810 Canine Court

Everyone complains about affordability in San Jose, but there are still some really interesting opportunities if you know where to look. There is a very unique townhome-style condo for sale in South San Jose in a brand new neighborhood near the intersection of 101 and 85. 

It's a massive 2,506 SQFT home with 4 oversized bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. That makes it larger than most single family homes in San Jose, yet the listing price is only $555 a square foot.

Costco is literally across the street and several great restaurants are minutes away (I highly recommend Blossom and Bourbon). It also has great parks within the community with bocce ball, basketball, multiple playgrounds for the kids, an outdoor gym, and gated dog park. The Santa Teresa Light Rail station is a 15min walk or 4min bike ride away.

My wife is the realtor and is hosting an open house this weekend from 1-4pm on Saturday with free bubbly and an assortment of appetizers highlighting a highly-rated local San Jose eatery. Last week was Pasteleria Adega and this week it will be something new but equally as awesome. Even if you're not looking for a new home, swing on by to check out the neighborhood and talk San Jose. The address is 6810 Canine Court in San Jose.

Be one of the first 8 groups to mention The San Jose Blog and take home a bottle of either Prosecco or Rosé.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

400 foot tall Willow Park project wants to blast through approvals

While not in San Jose or even Santa Clara County, this project is so insane it is worth mentioning. A Bay Area-based developer called Development N17 submitted an application with the city of Menlo Park for a mixed-use project with a 665 units of housing, a 130-room hotel, 324,000 SQFT of office space, 4.9 acres of open space and parks, and a Montessori school. All of this is planned on just 6.7 acres of land.

The tallest building in the complex would be 431 feet high while other buildings would stand 367 feet and 271 feet tall. This would easily be the tallest project between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with it's flagship building standing over 130 feet taller than anything in San Jose.

Willow Park would replace single-story office building from 1951.

The developer is seeking expedited approval and want to start building as soon as possible. 133 units are allocated for affordable housing, which allows them to use an entitlement process known as "builders remedy" which prohibits the city from denying housing developments if the city does not have an approved plan for meeting their housing requirements (which Menlo Park does not).

I really wish this proposal was for San Jose, but I'm optimistic this will have local developers taking bigger bets like this one for the Capital of Silicon Valley.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, June 10, 2024

41st San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival

The San Jose Fountain Blues & Brew Festival returns this weekend at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Saturday, June 15th from 11am to 8pm. The roster features nine hours of national and regional talent across two stages featuring every genre of blues you can imagine. It's the longest running blues festival in Northern California and is expected to have over 2,500 attendees.

In addition to the great music, there will be over 40 breweries including local favorites like Gordon Biersch, Fox Tale, and Bare Bottle. Artist vendor booths and family-friendly lawn games round out the event.

For more info and tickets, head over here.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

2024 Silicon Valley Index

The Joint Venture Silicon Valley Index has been providing insights on our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for over 25 years. It provides an honest and holistic view of life in Silicon Valley. You can download the 2024 Silicon Valley Index over here.

Have a quick look at the comparison between Silicon Valley and San Francisco in the image below. Here are some of my notes from the key findings:
  • We're growing again with 11,300 new Silicon Valley residents last year.
  • VC dollars going into AI have risen 220% year-over-year. Generative AI represented 44% of all 2023 VC investments in AI companies.
  • Silicon Valley just had four IPOs last year. San Francisco had one.
  • We're still generating more patents by far than any other place in the nation. San Jose is the top city in the nation yet again for patent filing.
  • Silicon Valley's 20 largest tech companies were 7% smaller at the end of 2023 than than the previous year, but employment in tech still ended up being 37,000 employees more than pre-pandemic figures. Tech is now 28% of the workforce.
  •  If wealth was evenly distributed in Silicon Valley, it would amount to $2 million per household.
  • Silicon Valley's population continues to age, with those over 65 years old up by 32% since 2012 and the number of children down by 13% over the same period.
  • The number of births each year in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties has declined steadily since the 1990s, dropping by 33% over 33 years.
  • 51% of Silicon Valley speaks a language other than English at home
  • The two largest office projects in Silicon Valley last year were both in Downtown San Jose, 200 Park (965,342 SQFT) and Adobe's 4th Tower (700,000 SQFT). The 3rd largest was a 350,000 SQFT building in South San Francisco.
  • Silicon Valley childcare costs have quadrupled over the past 20 years, rising twice as fast as regional inflation.
  • There were no unhealthy air days in the past three years, showing an improvement in air quality.
  • Total solar capacity increased sixfold over the past decade, from 174 MW in 2013 to 983 MW in 2023. Batter storage grew twentyfold in the past 5 years.
  • Gasoline and Diesel sales have steadily declined and are still 19% below pre-pandemic levels (presumably due to EV sales)
  • 17% of all Californian EV charging outlets are in Silicon Valley, over 5,000 in Santa Clara County alone.
  • Life expectancy is several years higher in Silicon Valley versus California or the United States.

Friday, June 7, 2024

100 affordable homes proposed for Willow Glen

A project split across 520 and 544 West Alma in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood could bring over 100 affordable homes to San Jose. 

91 of these homes would be near the Highway 87 and Alma Avenue interchange. The first floor of the five-story building would be amenity space and parking while the apartments would span the upper four floors.

At 544 West Alma, there is an abandoned restaurant and large surface parking lot. Here developers would like to build 99 affordable apartments near the banks of the Guadalupe River. Part of the project would even include restoring areas adjacent to the Guadalupe River so that it can be integrated into the project.

Source: The Mercury News

Thursday, June 6, 2024

South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk + SubZERO - June 2024

South FIRST FRIDAYS is back with exhibits across multiple galleries in three different districts. Everything is open from at least 5-9pm. Participating venues include ANNO DOMINI, the Institute of Contemporary Art, KALEID Gallery, Works San Jose, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, the SoFA Market, MACLA, Art Ark Gallery, MACHU PICCHU, San Jose Jazz, and Chopsticks Alley Gallery.

It all goes down on Friday, June 7th. As usual admission is free and all ages are welcome. Click here for a preview of featured art! Below is a map with all of the galleries to check out across all three different districts.

This month is also SubZERO which overlaps with the Festival and continues tomorrow from 5pm to 11pm. SubZERO features dozens of vendors and artists, live music across multiple stages, and a beer garden with local breweries. You won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Updates on 28-story high-rise next to San Jose's City Hall

We might have been the first website to publish the renders below for an ambitious new high-rise on a the current site of a Lee's Sandwiches across from City Hall. It has 529 residential units as well as 21,000 SQFT of retail or restaurant space and 12,100 SQFT of office space.

As I speculated, the top floors are more than just amenity space for residents. There are two bars planned for the northern tower (!!) which is the one right on Santa Clara street. This would be an outstanding amenity and the first public penthouse space of its kind in Silicon Valley.

The smaller southern tower would have a lounge at the very top as well, but likely only for residents.

Of the 529 residential , we now know that 348 would be one-bedrooms, 114 would be two-bedroom units, 63 would be studios, and there would just be four three-bedroom units. The swimming pool would be on the 5h floor podium along with a dining area. If built, this would be one of the most interesting pairs of towers Downtown.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

San Jose student housing tower with a stunning penthouse

A 25-story tower with 210 residential units is proposed for 439 South Fourth Street, a kitty corner away from SJSU. The 274-foot tall building would cater towards SJSU students and faculty. The exact breakdown is 63 two-bedroom, 21, three bedroom, 84 four-bedroom, and 42 five-bedroom (!) units.

Amenities would include a pool, gym, dog park, community rooms, study rooms, office space, and a shared rooftop area with breathtaking views. It is great to see developers finally try to fully utilize penthouse space in San Jose with shared amenity space. We have amazing views in Silicon Valley, you just have to get high enough to take it all in.

The site currently has a 30-unit apartment building and a single-family house converted to commercial uses.

Source: The Mercury News, SVBJ

Monday, June 3, 2024

More details on proposed Diridon Station improvements in Downtown San Jose

Diridon Station is planning a major transformation in the coming years (and perhaps decades) as it become the Grand Central Station of the West Coast and boy is there a lot to unpack here. First let's start with the good news. Service will be expanded across the board. Caltrain will triple their service from 4 trains an hour during peak times to 12 in each direction. Capitol Corridor will go from 6 trains a day to 11. ACE is planning one extra train. VTA Light Rail will increase service by 50% and buses by 12%. TAMC will add 4 trains a day to/from Salinas. Last but very much not least, High Speed Rail will have 4 trains per hour in both directions.

So far so good. There are three proposed alignments for the future station improvements. Elevated tracks, at-grade, and stacked. Below are some of the key comparisons and a few renders.

And now the bad news... the cost. Transportation transformation does not come cheap. These improvements are estimated to cost between $2.5 and $13 BILLION dollars. Those are today's dollars, not 2040 dollars factoring for inflation. Also, this doesn't even include BART which is a separate project.

To put the ridiculousness of those costs into perspective, the entire cost of San Jose Mineta International Airport's Terminal B is $1.8 billion in 2023 dollars. The cheapest proposal is more expensive than half of our airport!

The most expensive proposal for one station would build an airport two times the size of SJC. That one station would cost more than the entire four-station BART subway from Berryessa to Santa Clara. It is a completely stunning cost, and not in a good way.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

U.S. News ranked San Jose 4th in quality of life

A ranking earlier this year called San Jose a diverse area with an innovative spirit. U.S. News rankings of top places to live put San Jose in 4th place. The study looked at general satisfaction, crime, health care, quality of education, and average commute times. Our city was only beat out by Ann Arbor, Boulder, and Madison.

Source: Yahoo News

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Second installation of Sharks mural in East San Jose

A new mural has been commissioned by the San Jose Sharks called "Recuerdos de Este" or "Memories of the East." The 35-foot mural is inspired by other East San Jose public art displays and is one of a seven-mural project sponsored by the Sharks Community Connections Project and Local Color.

You can find the colorful mural at the Latino Business Foundation at 1652 Alum Rock.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, May 31, 2024


SJMADE's most popular event of all time is returning this weekend on June 1st and 2nd at History Park San Jose. SJMADE FEST features over 250 makers, artists, designers, chefs, backers, crafters, and small businesses. For food, there are over 50 food trucks and vendors... a staggering amount for any event.

There are some other surprises there like a Kitten Lounge, K-Pop Plaza with live dance performances, and door prizes. The event is completely free which also makes it a great opportunity to check out History San Jose. It runs from 11am to 6pm on both days and is both kid and dog friendly (leashed). For more info, the full vendor list, and parking suggestions, head over here.