Wednesday, March 29, 2023

SJSU planning massive housing project

San Jose State University is about to embark on part 3 of their "Campus Village" projects. This would replace the Washburn Hall and Joe West Hall dorms with two new towers that would have 1,007 student beds, a dining hall for up to 900 students, and a new SJSU welcome center. The University is still raising funding for the project--which will cost a whopping $334M. 

However, this isn't the only San Jose State housing project on the horizon. A 24-story residential tower for up to 1,000 residents (most of which will be SJSU grad students, faculty, and staff) is being planned next to the Hammer Theater. This project is called the Alquist and it will clock in at $750 million.

If all goes well, both projects should be complete in 2027.

Source: SVBJ

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.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Downtown getting another food hall! (Updated 4/18/23)

Downtown San Jose could one day become the mecca of food halls. It all started with the San Pedro Square Market which deserves much of the credit for revitalizing Downtown. To this day it is a top destination for locals and visitors alike. Wrapping a vibrant food, bar, and music scene around San Jose's oldest historic home was brilliant. Then came the SoFA market, which is smaller but also has a selection of excellent eateries (including my go-to spot for uni handrolls). Thirdly is the Littlest Little Italy... more on that in a separate post. Now, there is a fourth (!) food hall being proposed by an Uber co-founder.

The plan is to turn a historic late 19th-century building at the corner of Santa Clara and 3rd and turn it into a food hall with 26 kitchens. You might know this as the old Hank Coco Downtown Furniture corner, which is a key space right in the center of Downtown San Jose.

The entire ground floor would be utilized for the project. This would make it larger than the SoFA Market but slightly smaller than the San Pedro Square Market. Also part of the plan is a 1,000 SQFT dine-in restaurant and a coffee bar.

Exciting times ahead for San Jose foodies!

Source: The Merc

4/18/23 Update:

Unfortunately it looks as if the kitchens will not be publicly accessible and they will be used as ghost kitchens for delivery services. The dine-in restaurant is where you can order food from any of the kitchens, but it is a very small space. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Hat tip to Kelly Snider for sending in these corrections.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

New Sprouts Farmer's Market opening near Downtown

At the San Jose Market Center on Coleman, a new Sprouts is taking over the space formerly occupied by Office Depot at the edge of Downtown San Jose. The center is currently anchored by Target, World Market, and a Trader Joe's. So this would be the 4th store with groceries in the shopping center.

The new Sprouts will clock in at 20,767 SQFT and will be the 5th location in San Jose. 

While I'm always happy to see more grocery options close to our Downtown core, I can't help but to think that the old "The Market by Safeway" space at the bottom of The 88 would have been perfect for Sprouts. That spot was 24,000 SQFT and right in the middle of a growing population looking for grocery options within walking distance. Beggars can't be choosers, so I'll still chalk this up as a win. 

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, March 9, 2023

SanJose2030 Man on the Street Ep1

Our friend and fellow San Jose-enthusiast David Manzo from Bejaw Productions has started a new YouTube series to document the many changes Downtown San Jose will experience through 2030. 

In his inaugural video, he takes us through the Alameda, Downtown West, and ends with a very cool time lapse deconstruction of the old Poor House Bistro as well as a tour of its new home at Little Italy San Jose. While it's sad to see the original Poor House shut down to make way for Google, the new location is going to be amazing and will help Little Italy thrive!

Check out the video below or over here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

2023 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 2023 Silicon Valley Index over here.

Below are some of the key findings:

  • The region continued battling surges, but the COVID death rate per capita declined in 2022.
    • COVID-19 dropped to Silicon Valley’s sixth leading cause of death in 2022, down from third in 2021.
  • The region recovered from pandemic job losses by April 2022. Unemployment hit an historic low. Tech is becoming more highly concentrated.
    • Silicon Valley added 88,000 jobs between mid-2021 and mid-2022, a growth rate of 5.4%. An estimated 22,000 jobs were added in the second half of the year. The 30 largest firms account for 42 % of tech employment (19 % are at Google, Apple, and Meta alone).
  • The rise and fall of the stock market drove large shifts in venture funding and IPOs.
    • Pandemic-period stock market gains of nearly $9 trillion proved transitory as the market tumbled in 2022. Half of all venture capital flowing to Silicon Valley or San Francisco companies was in the form of megadeals ($24.7 billion spread across 116 megadeals).
  • Demand for commercial space is tempered by remote work, but specialized R&D space is hot.
    • Though remote work is shifting the dynamic, leasing activity remained strong throughout 2022. While there was a 45% increase in the number of lease agreements, the average amount of space per lease has sharply declined.
  • Remote work is increasing, creating extra capacity on roadways and decimating public transit.
    • The share of remote workers grew to 35% in 2022, up from 28% in 2021. Private commuter shuttles are being put out of service. Caltrain ridership fell to 4,100 daily riders, down from 67,000 (-92%). BART recovered 35% of its pre-pandemic riders.
  • Silicon Valley’s population is declining; the share of young people is also falling.
    • Silicon Valley’s population declined by 38,900 residents between mid-2020 and mid-2021, the highest figure ever recorded. The decline was due to a 74% rise in domestic outmigration, a reversal of the net flow of foreign immigrants (-103 %), declining birth rates, and rising death rates.
  • The pandemic and patterns of outmigration haven’t affected soaring home prices
    • Silicon Valley’s high home prices rose 7% in 2022, reaching a record-breaking median price of $1.53 million. The share of first-time homebuyers who can afford a median priced home fell to 27% and is as low as 14% for the region’s Black or African Americans and Hispanic or Latino residents.
  • Inflation outpaced income gains; assistance programs scale upwards
    • Increases in the regional Consumer Price Index since 2019 outpaced household income gains, resulting in a $550 decline in median household income in 2021. Childcare costs rose twice as quickly as the regional inflation rate since 2010 (+85%). Average wages vary significantly across racial and ethnic groups, with the largest disparity between Hispanic or Latino and White, not Hispanic or Latino residents.
  • Silicon Valley has the nation’s largest gaps, and they are increasing.
    • For the first time ever, ultra-high net worth households are included in regional wealth data. Through this lens, inequality is even more stark, with the top 0.001% of Silicon Valley’s households holding more wealth than the nearly 500,000 households in the bottom 50%.
    • In 2022 the top 10 % of Silicon Valley households hold 66% of the wealth; eight Silicon Valley households residents hold more wealth than that of the bottom 50% combined (nearly half a million households).
    • While income inequality was lessening in the state and nation (down 1 and 3%) it rose in Silicon Valley by 5% in 2021.
    • 28% of Silicon Valley households are below income-adequacy; those households include 42% of the region’s children. 42% of children in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties live in households that are not self-sufficient; the most influential factor for these households is the cost of childcare.
    • Income adequacy varies significantly by race and ethnicity. Among those most likely to live below Self-Sufficiency Standards are Hispanic or Latino non-citizens and those with limited English.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

March 2023 Downtown Dimension Highlights

  • A Downtown Vibrancy team of downtowners handed the Mayor and City Council  a list of recommendations of how downtown can improve, and the Council may consider some of them for additional funding in the Fiscal Year 2023-24 cycle. Four other teams dealing with other topics also had some downtown-related suggestions.  They are all outlined in the March edition.
  • In keeping with the vibrancy theme, San Jose Downtown Association will host a Town Hall Meeting March 9 starting at 4:30 p.m. at Open San Jose, 38 S. Second St. Please attend to learn more about SJDA and how you can get involved in creating a more robust downtown. Register here.
  • The other theme of the March edition is about downtown businesses that are going "all in:"
    • Cafe Eden and The Loft are back in business after prolonged closures due to Covid and its lingering effects. Their owners explain what got them back in the game.
    • New-businesses Slice of Homage pizza and Little Wine House, both grew from pandemic-related roots and feature chefs who spent their years of seclusion wisely in training.  
    • And "Littlest Little Italy" (Say that fast three times in a row!) just opened. It divides the 5,000-square-foot, former Enoteca La Storia restaurant into five businesses that pair very well with one another. 
  • Say hello to Mark Michaud, who returned to San Jose and has made his mark in a very short time on keeping downtown clean with Groundwerx

Please share this subscription information with your neighbors and employees so they can stay up-to-date on downtown business news and information of general interest through Downtown Dimension:

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Friend Fest 2023

The first weekend in March 2023 marks the return of a bigger and better version of SJMADE'S Friend Fest: An Art, Craft & Maker Celebration of Best Friends, New Friends, Old Friends, "We're Just Friends", "Wanna Be More Than Friends" or whatever! It's our largest ever with over 175 of your favorite creative small businesses.

Happening on Saturday, Mar. 4 and Sunday, Mar. 5 at Westgate Center in the former Walmart Neighborhood Market space at 1600 Saratoga Ave #501, San Jose, CA 95129. Featuring over 175 artists, makers and creators, a special Friend Fest nostalgic photo booth experience, special Friend Fest programming & activities, and most importantly, lots & lots of friendships vibes.

Free admission for attendees. Open from 11 AM to 5 PM each day. This venue is indoors. Face masks strongly recommended. All ages. 

Event Details

This event is free admission to attend. Free on-site parking. This venue is indoors. 

Event Dates & Times

  • Saturday, Mar. 4, 2023: 11 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday Mar. 5, 2023: 11 am to 5 pm

Location & Parking

  • The event location is the former Walmart at Westgate Center. Westgate Center is located at 1600 Saratoga Ave, San José, CA 95129.
  • We recommend that all attendees park in the section of the center's parking lot near the 49ers Fit located at 1600 Saratoga Ave Suite 46, San Jose, CA 95129. The event venue is located next door to the 49ers Fit. 
  • Parking in the Westgate Center parking lot is free. 

About the Venue: Westgate Center

Westgate Center features shopping, dining and services for the whole family. Conveniently located in West San Jose, California between the 85 and 280 freeways. Westgate Center features a multitude of shops, services and restaurants including Nike Factory Store, Target, Nordstrom Rack, Gap Factory Store, 49er Fit, Buffalo Wild Wings, Gen Korean BBQ House and more.

Learn more about Westgate Center: