Showing posts with label san jose valley fair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose valley fair. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Eye-catching residential towers could rise near Valley Fair and Santana Row

If there ever was an area ripe for high-rise development outside of Downtown it would be right around our shopping mecca of Valley Fair and Santana Row. While it has limited transit, the area is flush with shopping, dining, and jobs.

A two-tower project has been proposed to replace a dilapidated building at 826 North Winchester Blvd. The project would consist of 135 residential units (70 one-bedroom and 65 two-bedroom units), 20 of which would be affordable. There would also be 13,000 SQFT of open space, 6,000 SQFT of terrace space, and 7,500 SQFT of amenity space.

The top floors would have amazing views in all directions, including views of neighboring Downtown San Jose. Another impressive feature is a sky bridge connecting the two towers and likely featuring outdoor and amenity space with views.

If this comes to fruition, it'll be the new standard for development going forward in "uptown" San Jose.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

iChina hires a rockstar chef, obviously aiming for the stars

By aiming for the stars, of course I'm talking about those rare Michelin Stars. As our one and only Michelin Star restaurant--Adega--closed their doors in 2023, iChina is our next best shot.

Yesterday iChina announced that Singapoean Chef Chen Zhinengh is joining the team as Executive Chef. He has worked at multiple Michelin-star restaurants including Hakkasan in New York, Empress By Boon in SF, and 3 Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants.

Below is the full text from the email blast. I'll look forward to trying iChina soon after his updated menu is live.

Introducing Chef Chen Zhinengh
We are thrilled to announce Chef Chen Zhinengh has joined iCHiNA to lead our kitchens. Because eight is an auspicious number, here are eight reasons we’re lucky to have him.

Born in Singapore, Chef Chen started working in restaurants at the age of 16.

He has cooked at some of the top restaurants in Singapore including the Mandarin Oriental and Ritz Carlton Hotels.

Chef Chen was part of the opening team for Hakkasan New York and went on to help oversee all US locations.

Prior to joining iCHiNA Chef Chen was Executive Chef at the Michelin-starred Empress By Boon, in San Francisco.

A master of Peking Duck—one of our signature dishes—Chef Chen has combined culinary methods from top restaurants around the world to create a Peking Duck with  distinctive taste and a richer texture.

Chef Chen has cooked at 3 Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants.

This video starring Chef Chen making dumplings has been viewed over 54,000 times. If it doesn’t make you want to try our dim sum, we don’t know what will!

Chef Chen is developing some amazing specials to offer during Lunar New Year including 魚生撈起 (Prosperity Salad) and 红豆汤 (Red Bean Glutinous Rice Soup) to bring you health and prosperity in the new year. 

Book a table now for a taste of Chef Chen’s exquisite cooking. Some of his new dishes include Golden Tofu Lobster featuring lobster, pumpkin, and silken tofu and Black Bean Prawns with housemade black bean sauce and fresh gai lan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Famous Korean BBQ spot Baekjeong opens first Northern California location in San Jose

Speaking of BBQ (see previous post today), Baekjeong is opening their very first location in Northern California at Westfield Valley Fair. This is a chain owned by Korean celebrity Kang Ho-dong and is extremely popular in LA and New York. San Jose will be one of just a two locations to accept reservations and they are already going fast on Resy.

While many malls around the country are struggling, Valley Fair somehow is continuing to expand and attract compelling restaurants. Eataly, Din Tai Fung, iChina, Maestro's, Kingfish, and Ramen Nagi are some of the other flagship dining destinations within the mall.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Valley Fair is expanding and hitting records

After investing over $1 billion in greatly increasing the square footage of Valley Fair, disaster struck with the COVID pandemic. While many shopping centers are still struggling, Valley Fair is currently hitting its stride with record numbers of visitors and retail activity. Foot traffic and retail sales are both way beyond pre-COVID days.

The recent additions of a flagship Bloomingdale's, Eataly, Showplace ICON cinema, a new Apple Store, and an outdoor upscale dining district were tremendous successes. However, there is already a long list of new retailers coming to Valley Fair in 2023.

Coming up is Bowlero, which has bowling and billiards. It also features several bars and a full menu. There are 3 other locations (South SJ, Cupertino, and Milpitas).

You have a new Escape Game venue coming, one of my favorite things to do with friends and/or coworkers.

For food options, you have Marugame Udon, Killiney Kopitiam (Singaporean cuisine), and the first Northern Californian Baekjeong Korean BBQ. 

Last but not least, if you can afford Swiss watches that cost as much as a car then you'll be happy to hear Vacheron Constantin as the next major retailor coming to San Jose. This will be the 3rd Californian location (the other two are Palo Alto and SF). Also on the retail side you have expansions of Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs.

The diversity of what is being added to Valley Fair is impressive--it's going far beyond a typical mall. Now if only we could get mass transit and a better linkage to Santana Row.

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Lucid Motors opens Valley Fair "Studio"

Valley Fair has a new flagship electric car store, and it's not Tesla. Lucid Motors is an ultra-luxury car brand that just has a single model, the Lucid Air. It's a $100k+ sedan that competes with the likes of the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series and comes with a staggering 1,000 horsepower powertrain.

If the car and store seem eerily similar to Tesla, that's because most of the team behind Lucid are ex-Tesla engineers that helped design the Tesla Model S. Coincidentally, the very first Tesla "Store" was across the street at Santana Row. Lucid event built a high-speed charging station in the Valley Fair garage, very similar to what Tesla did across the street at the row.

While you won't be able to test drive a Lucid Air yet, you can see all of the options and trims (which are named after Californian destinations like Santa Barbara). The showroom also looks stunning, it's worth checking out if you're at Valley Fair already.

This location is one of only four with the others being Lucid's Headquarters in Newark, Beverly Hills, and Century City (LA). Eventually they will have 20 studios. Long term, they plan to offer SUVs and more affordable models as well.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Valley Fair Open-Air Market

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Valley Fair has been closed for months, so they have gotten creative and launched an outdoor pop-up to allow some of it's tenants to continue operations. If you find it ironic that people are shopping in tents right in front of Valley Fair's shiny new (and deserted) $1.1 billion expansion, you're not the only one.

The outdoor market is open from 1pm to 7pm from Friday to Sunday in the Outdoor Plaza and North Valet Lot. Below are the list of participating retailers and eateries. The department stores are now fully open as well (masks required of course).


  • Athleta (Thursdays & Fridays only + the weekend of 8/21)
  • California Pizza Kitchen: outdoor dining on their patio, adjacent to Forest Avenue (open 7 days a week)
  • Champs Sports
  • The Waffle Roost Food Truck (@thewaffleroost | Saturday's only from 12 - 3:30)
  • Coach
  • Cotton On
  • Cotton On Kids 
  • David Yuman
  • Din Tai Fung: outdoor dining on their pop-up patio, adjacent to Forest Avenue (open 7 days a week) 
  • Foot Locker 
  • Fresh Society
  • Haagen Dazs (open 7 days a week in the North Valet) 
  • Hugo Boss
  • Johnny Was (only Sat & Sun) 
  • Kay Jewelers 
  • Koja Kitchen Bar
  • Levi's
  • Lovesac
  • MCM
  • Mex Cal Taco Truck
  • Pac Sun
  • Pottery Barn 
  • Quay Australia
  • Rabbit Rabbit Tea 
  • Salt & Straw (open 7 days a week on the plaza)
  • Shoe Palace
  • Talbots 
  • UNTUCKit (open 7 days a week on the plaza)
  • Young Art Lessons 
  • Zales
  • Zumiez

Source: San Jose Inside

Monday, March 16, 2020

Valley Fair's $1.1B expansion is now partially open

I swung by Valley Fair this weekend to check out the new 500,000 SQFT expansion. Thanks to the Coronavirus, it was almost completely empty but just about every new store was still open.

Parking is now a lot easier with a new six-story garage right off of Steven's Creek that goes underneath the expansion and has direct connections to the new Bloomingdales. Speaking of which, it's a true flagship department store with San Jose branding everywhere. Unfortunately I couldn't afford most of the cool things in there, it's more expensive than Nordstrom yet not quite as insane as Neiman Marcus. I did find my favorite clothing store near one of the two entrances of the expansion--Untuckit. This is the first one in San Jose. The expansion also includes Forward (premium doctor's office), Orangetheory Fitness, Bulgari, Cole Haan Grandshop, and a few ex-Santana Row brands such as Anthropologie, Pinkberry, and Urban Outfitters.

The new Santana Row-style outdoor concourse will feature a bunch of high-end restaurants including Maestro's. I have a feeling that they will get another Michelin-recommended restaurant or two this year. Din Thai Fung already has that rating. Salt & Straw is the only place open so far, but the ice cream was exceptional (Bone Marrow and Smoked Cherries... wow). I loved the interactive art on the walls near the entrances too.

They have five new stores focused on retail concepts. One had a bunch of cool Kickstarter projects in it and is similar to B8ta at Santana Row. Definitely worth checking out.

While not part of the expansion, I also finally got to try Ramen Nagi. Even with the Coronavirus, it still took an hour and 15min in line. Totally worth it, it was some of the best ramen I have ever had. It goes by faster than you think since you customize your food while waiting in the line and the food comes quickly once you get inside.

Once the virus boils over, this is hopefully going to drive a lot of extra tax revenue to San Jose. It's hands down the nicest mall in the Bay Area and they are making an effort to be more Santana Rowish with the outdoor space. I truly hate going to traditional malls, but this experience was way better than what I expected. I'll definitely be back to check out the new restaurants as they open.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Eataly coming to San Jose

With two very successful food halls in Downtown San Jose and Santana Row across the street, Valley Fair might be feeling a bit left out when it comes to the South Bay food scene. Fortunately, their big expansion that starts rolling out in March has a major focus on cuisine. Several flagship restaurants have been announced, but the biggest addition will be an Italian Marketplace called Eataly.

The market clocks in at an impressive 51,000 SQFT. Eataly is large enough to house multiple restaurants, cafes, food stalls, bars, and take-out counters. If you're a foodie that likes Italian food, this may be your new favorite location in the mall. It will also be the only Eataly location in Northern California.

Eataly San Jose will open sometime in 2021.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, June 24, 2019

Quick look inside the Valley Fair expansion

The Silicon Valley Business Journal has given us a sneak peak into Valley Fair's $1.1 billion remodel and expansion. The mall is growing from 1.5 million SQFT to 2.2 million, making it by far the largest mall in Northern  California and the 15th largest in the US (If you were to count stores at Santana Row it would be the largest).

The expansion will bring flagship stores for Apple and Bloomindale's as well as other premium brands such as Jimmmy Choo, John Varvatos, UNTUCKit, and Gorjana. Double Eagle Steakhouse, Shake Shack, Salt & Straw, and SomiSomi are some of the new eateries. 80% of the expansion is already pre-leased. If you are concerned about parking, they just added another 1,200 space garage and optimized the new front entrance for car sharing/pooling, bikes, and pedestrians in mind (finally).

By pushing the mall outwards towards Stevens Creek and adding an outdoor paseo, they are doing their best to better connect to Santana Row. Inside the more traditional mall area, they are using a lot of high-end materials and leveraging natural light thanks to massive skylights.

The expansion will have its grand opening early next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the 100 new stores did a soft opening before Christmas.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

ShowPlace Icon is San Jose's new flagship movie theater

I'm a big fan of movies and was devastated when my favorite theater--Camera 12 shut its doors. Finally there is a new movie theater in San Jose that has enough character to fill those shoes and elevates the movie watching experience to the next level.

ShowPlace Icon is a 10-screen movie theater spanning two floors and 60,000 SQFT in Valley Fair Mall. All 1,474 seats are reserved loungers with electric footrests and heaters. Their largest theater is a 281 seat ICON*X premium large format room with a 4k laser projection and Dolby Atmos sound. What really made Icon stand out for me was the VIP section upstairs for those 21 and over. Up there you will find surprisingly good craft cocktails, an adult take on Icee's with flavors like "Frozen Margarita," a great food selection, and bacon popcorn. The whole floor looks like a lounge and has comfortable seating throughout. After entering their largest movie theater from the VIP section, you'll soon realize you are on a private balcony where you can continue to enjoy your fancy beverages and food. This is a great design that I hope others will copy.

I was fortunate to get a media preview of The Upside (great movie by the way). The seats were at least as comfortable as the recliners at CineArts or Cinemark Mountain View. The food and drink are for sure the best you can find in any South Bay movie theater. The video and sound quality were exceptional, we're talking IMAX-level. I also like the finishing touches throughout the theater like photos of San Jose and portraits of actors born in the Bay Area.

You can reserve a seat now at Prices are in line with other theaters and I highly recommend checking them out.

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Proposal in West San Jose

A Preliminary Review Application (File No. PRE17-143) was recently submitted at 375 S. Baywood Avenue for a 12-story, 65 unit multifamily building with underground parking on a 0.3 acre site. Currently the site has two existing single-family homes and could be developed with up to 75 units under the Urban Village land use designation. This property falls within the newly adopted Valley Fair/Santana Row Urban Village Plan. The VFSR Plan sets a capacity for 8,500 new jobs and 2,635 new dwelling units.

The applicant submitted several design concepts to gain an understanding of what staff would support. The conceptual designs can be found here. The concepts are all of a similar design but different enough to be able to have a preference for one over the other. I will say it is very exciting to see interest in architecture that is different from the typical boxy industrial look we have seen all too much in the Bay Area (think Mission Bay in San Francisco).

-Kimberly Vacca