Downtown San Jose icon Original Joe’s is set to reopen today after a remodeling and retrofit project that had the restaurant closed for the past three months. The Italian restaurant has been a fixture in downtown San Jose since it first opened back in 1956. A $1 million remodelling and retrofitting project will result in a new booths in the main dining hall, a new upstairs bar area for customers waiting for a table, and a new granite countertop for those who enjoy dining and watching the chefs at work. OJ’s or O-Joe’s promises to have the same great food and same great service, but with a new look. Bring your appetite.
The Federal Reserve cut the short-term interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday. This was the first decrease in interest rates by the Federal Reserve since 2003. What does this mean for people looking to buy real estate or for the real estate market?
The interest rates on consumer debt, car loans, and home equity lines of credit will benefit the most from the rate drop. The stock market also benefited from the Fed’s actions. Home loan rates, however, will not be significantly impacted by the interest rate decrease since these loans are more closely related to inflation. Homebuyers stuck with subprime loans hoping to refinance won’t be helped out as much as previously thought.
Carl’s Jr. and Green Burrito are now open at the San Jose Marketplace on Coleman Ave. I hear they are also opening an Asqew Grill at the San Jose Marketplace. I thought this was a bit curious since there is already an Asqew Grill in downtown San Jose at First Street and Paseo de San Antonio. Anyone know what else is going in at the San Jose Marketplace?
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how developers offer incentives to sweeten the deal. What I forgot to mention is that these incentives aren’t always the fantastic deal they appear to be. Many times developers will increase the price of the homes before they market the incentives. If you, as a buyer, received incentives totaling $20,000, but you bought a property that just had a price increase of $10,000, how much of a deal is that?
There are a number of developers in downtown San Jose and throughout the Bay Area offering various incentives to entice buyers into purchasing one of their properties. The real estate market is slow and developers need to move inventory. One particular downtown San Jose development is offering buyers $50,000 which can be applied towards upgrades, future HOA fees, or to buy-down interest rates. $50,000?!?! Yes, you read that correctly, $50,000! What the sales team won’t tell you is that units in that complex have increased in price between $20,000 - $35,000. That great deal you just got doesn’t sound so great anymore now does it?
This is one of the important factors to consider when you buy a new construction home. No, you don’t need to be represented by an agent but why wouldn’t you want to be, especially if it doesn’t cost you anything. Its an extra pair of eyes looking out for you. And if you do use an agent to buy new construction, be sure they understand how new construction sales operate.
Going to lunch today I came across a great new restaurant and wine bar, San Pedro Square Bistro & Wine Bar, located on the back side of San Pedro Square next to Los Cubanos restaurant. The lunch menu was moderately priced with a decent variety of food options ranging from sandwiches priced around $7 (served with fries) to entrees such as a pan-seared filet mignon cubes served with garlic rice at $9. I haven’t been to many wine bars but the wine menu seemed to provide a good assortment of choices to select from. The atmosphere at San Pedro Square Bistro & Wine is very friendly and inviting. The outdoor patio area is also a great environment to enjoy your meal, glass of wine, or both.
Wine bars are trendy now and downtown San Jose is no stranger to following trends. San Pedro Square Bistro & Wine is the second wine bar to open in the downtown area. A Perfect Finish, located at Post and First Street, opened recently in downtown San Jose.
San Pedro Square Bistro and Wine Bar
20 N. Almaden Ave.
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 298-WINE (9463)
A community meeting regarding the North San Pedro Housing Project located in downtown San Jose was held last night, September 12, 2007. The informational meeting held by the San Jose Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the developers, Barry Swenson Builder and the Olson Company, introduced the concept and design for the project. The North San Pedro Housing Project is slated to consist of three high-rise residential condo towers and approximately 89 townhouses with a one-acre park as the center point of the development. Each of the three high-rise residential towers is anticipated to consist of 125-150 condo units.
The North San Pedro Housing Project is located on the Brandenburg site, an approximately 6.5 acre parcel north of San Pedro Square. The development is bordered on the north by Bassett Street, Terraine on the west, the Coleman overpass on the east, and St. James/Pellier Park on the southern edge. The North San Pedro Housing Project is projected to be a four-phase development with construction anticipated to begin at the end of 2008. Phase 1 of the project will consist of the one-acre par, the first of the three high-rise towers, and the surrounding townhouses. The development is expected to infuse an additional approximately 600 total residential units to the downtown San Jose area.
An additional focus of the North San Pedro Housing Project is returning Julian Street back to a traditional grid street pattern. Currently, Julian Street travels through an S-shape curve towards the Highway 87 on-ramp.
Barry Swenson Builder and the Olson Company are the devlopers for the North San Pedro Housing Project. Swenson will build the three high-rise condo towers and the Olson Company will build the townhouses. Previously, the Brandenburg site had been discussed as potential sites for a baseball stadium and a supermarket site.
The San Jose Grand Prix announced today that, after three years in the Bay Area, it would cease operations. Grand Prix officials cited the ongoing commercial and residential development in the downtown San Jose area as the reasons for ending its run in the South Bay. Current and future development, according to the Grand Prix officials, limited the options for revenue growth and expansion.
The press release issued by race officials stated that the race would lose its main grandstands on Almaden Boulevard as a result of future development on the Boston Properties lot. This includes the loss of the gold grandstand which was one of the San Jose Grand Prix’s main revenue sources.
But is the ongoing and future development of downtown San Jose really to blame for the San Jose Grand Prix closing up shop? If you’ve been to the race in past years, you probably thought that the attendance this year was much lighter than previously. And there were plenty of people that said they didn’t even know when the race was. Could poor marketing of the event and a lighter-than-expected attendance be the real reason for pulling the plug on the race? If race officials want to cite the development of downtown as the cause, then isn’t it really poor planning on their part to blame? Its not like these projects are suddenly popping up out of nowhere.
Downtown San Jose will continue to grow and flourish with all of the ongoing development but it is definitely disappointing to hear about the loss of the San Jose Grand Prix. This is a major event which attracted thousands to the downtown San Jose area and brought national exposure to the area. Whether you are a race fan or not, its a big loss for downtown San Jose and the Bay Area.
For more information, visit www.sjgp.com.
Some interesting statistics to point out about the Central San Jose condo market over the last month. The current inventory and number of closed sales remained relatively stable, but the median sales price dropped considerably.
2007 . . . . . . . Inventory . . . . . Closed Sales . . . Median Sales Price
July . . . . . . . . . 159 . . . . . . . . . . 26 . . . . . . . . . $500,750
August . . . . . . . 157 . . . . . . . . . . 23 . . . . . . . . . $480,323
Total sales volume for the month also fell sharply. In July 2007, sales volume totaled $13,102,499; total sales volume dropped to $11,047,450 in August 2007. Clearly, there were more lower priced properties sold in August than July. The other notable statistic is the number of days on market (DOM) which went up from 28 in July to 51 in August. The cumulative number of days on market also spiked from 51 in July to 68 in August. The longer properties are on the market, the more likely they are to get a lower priced offer.
There have been a lot of rumors flying around about what the government will do to stem the tide of foreclosures. It will be interesting to see what happens and how the market will respond.
*These statistics are generated using information from the RE Infolink MLS, but have not been verified and are not guaranteed. RE Infolink disclaims any resposibility for the accuracy and reliability of these statistics. This information should not be relied upon for real estate transaction decisions.