Cirque du Soleil In Downtown San Jose

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kooza.jpgStarting tonight, one of the most amazing shows around, can be found right here in downtown San Jose. Cirque du Soleil’s “Kooza” kickoffs tonight at the Grand Chapiteau located at the Taylor Street bridge in downtown San Jose. The first performance is tonight and Kooza will run through March 16, 2008.

If you’ve never attended a Cirque du Soliel performance, let me tell you that they are nothing short of spectacular. According to the official Cirque du Soleil website, “Kooza tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world. Kooza is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions – acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.”

Ticket prices for Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza in downtown San Jose:

Adults . . . . . . . . . . . . . $55.00/$80.00/$90.00
Children (ages 2-12) . . . . $38.50/$56.00/$63.00
Seniors (65+) . . . . . . . . $49.50/$72.00/$81.00
Students (13+ w/ ID) . . . $49.50/$72.00/$81.00

Don’t miss this opportunity to see an exciting and fun performance in downtown San Jose.

Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza
Grand Chapiteau, located at Taylor Street Bridge
Downtown San Jose
January 31, 2008 - March 16, 2008

PBID Underway in Downtown San Jose

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GroundwerxStarting today you may notice men and women wearing green or orange hats walking around downtown San Jose. Who are these uniformed individuals invading our downtown? They are ambassadors and members of the clean team from Groundwerx as part of the property-based improvement district (PBID). Today marked the launch of the program designed to provide enhanced cleaning and image enhancement services to improve the downtown environment. The program further aims to improve the vitality of downtown San Jose along with increasing property values in the downtown core.

Members of Groundwerx can be identified as ambassadors (green hats) or members of the clean team (orange hats). Ambassadors can be found on foot, bike, or riding Segways during peak hours. The ambassadors will provide concierge services for visitors, residents, and downtown employees, and assist in deterring crimes such as graffiti, loitering, and panhandling. Clean team members will provide premium levels of cleaning service using state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly equipment to clean and maintain sidewalks and pedestrian areas. Other projects that will come about as a result of the PBID include streetscape beautification.

The property-based improvement district was approved by downtown property owners last year and is expected to raise $1.6 million annually. Commercial and residential property owners in the downtown core area pay an assessment based on square footage. There are two levels of assessments for both the commercial and residential owners varying on whether the property resides in the basic zone or the premium zone.

For additional information about Groundwerx, contact the San Jose Downtown Association at (408) 279-1775.

The 88 and Central Place Phase II Update

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Thursday evening representatives from the developers of The 88 project and City of San Jose Redevelopment Agency held a meeting with members of the community regarding the status of downtown San Jose’s next residential high rise building, The 88, and proposed changes to phase II of the overall project known as Central Place. According to representatives from Wilson Meany Sullivan, one of the developers of The 88 along with CIM Group and Stockbridge Real Estate Funds, construction on The 88 is on schedule for a completion date in May 2008. To date, the exterior skin is 95% complete, the construction crane has been dismantled, and interior finishes are currently in progress.

The next construction steps for The 88 include finishing work on the 5th level outdoor platform area, which consists of the pool, spa and barbeque area, and completing the stone cladding and plaster on the street level storefronts and levels 1-5. Another construction milestone is the removal of the exterior material and personnel hoist which is slated for mid-February. Street improvements surrounding The 88 is also set to begin in February.

At the street level of The 88 there will be approximately 32,000 square feet of retail space. Developers for The 88 stated that they are currently in talks with several retailers for the spaces but that no commitments for leases have been obtained yet. One community member in attendance voiced his preference for a bookstore such as Borders or Barnes & Noble to be a tenant. The developers indicated that discussions were ongoing with a national bookstore retailer. Restaurants and a coffee shop would also seem to be ideal tenants for the retail space. What types of tenants would you like to see occupying the retail space?

A sales office is expected to open by the end of March 2008 with two models available to preview.

The second topic for discussion at the meeting was the changes proposed for the second tower of the Central Place project. The developers are seeking to amend the site permit to allow architectural modifications to the second tower which is slated to be located between The 88 and the Repertory Theater. Original plans for the second tower are for a mirror image of The 88 but proposed modifications would include a conceptual re-design of the tower. Other proposed changes for the second tower of Central Place include adding an additional floor to the building (but keeping its current proposed height) and reducing the amount of retail space.

—————————————Approved—————Proposed———-

Height . . . . . . . . . 270 feet . . . . . . . 270 feet
Stories . . . . . . . . . 22 . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Residential Units . . 205 . . . . . . . . . . 204
Retail Area . . . . . . 31,030 sq. ft. . . . . 26,000 sq. ft.
Open Space . . . . . 14,436 sq. ft. . . . . 18,387 sq. ft.
Parking Stalls . . . . . 226 . . . . . . . . . . 312
Loading Docks . . . . One . . . . . . . . . Two

All of the proposed parking will be above-ground. The second phase of the Central Place project would also include a 40-foot walkway between the second tower and the Repertory Theater. Construction of the second tower is anticipated to begin approximately 13-14 months after completion of The 88.

The 88 Community Meeting

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Another day, another meeting. A community meeting will be held to discuss the construction update for the first phase of The 88 on Thursday, January 24, 2008, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in Room 225A at the Martin Luther King Library on San Fernando Street. Representatives from the San Jose Planning Division and developers of The 88 (Wilson Meany Sullivan and CIM Group) will be present to report on the status of the construction of the The 88, discuss upcoming construction activities, and present design modifications to the second tower of the Central Place project (phase II). Representatives will be answering project-related questions.

The 88, located on San Fernando between Second and Third Streets, will consist of 197 residential luxury condos and approximately 31,000 square feet of street level retail. Phase II of the Central Place project will consist of a second residential high rise tower, 23 stories with 204 condo units, and approximately 30,250 square feet of street level retail space.

A sales office for The 88 is currently scheduled to open in March 2008.

Community Meeting
The 88 Construction Update and Central Place (Phase II) Site
Thursday, January 24, 2008, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Room 225A
150 E. San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA

Downtown Solar Project Kickoff Meeting

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San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo (District 3) is hosting a kickoff meeting to introduce the “Downtown Solar Project” this Wednesday night, January 23, 2008, at 7:00pm in City Hall, Wing 118. The “Downtown Solar Project” is a coordinated effort for a “community buy” to install solar panels on downtown residential homes. The community buy is designed to provide a coordinated discounted purchase and installation for residents in downtown San Jose. By utilizing solar electric systems, residents can receive rebates and lower electricity bills.

REC and Sun Run Homes have been selected by project leaders as the designated vendors for the Downtown Solar Project. The vendors are providing site evaluations to residents in the downtown area (District 3) at no cost. You can contact REC at (888) 657-6527 to schedule a site evaluation.

For additional information on the Downtown Solar Project:

Downtown Solar Project Kickoff Meeting
January 23, 2008
7:00pm
San Jose City Hall, Wing 118

Football in Santa Clara?

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Last night, the Santa Clara City Council approved 6-1 to begin negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers to finance a new football stadium across from Great America. Those negotiations, which are set to start as early as today, are for a 68,500 seat NFL football stadium at an estimated cost of $916 million. The City of Santa Clara would publicly finance $136 million of that proposed amount. So what does this all have to do with real estate and downtown San Jose? Well, everytime I hear or read anything about the 49ers potentially moving to Santa Clara or, more specifically, the Oakland A’s moving to Fremont, I can’t help but think what a huge boost it would have been if the A’s moved to downtown San Jose.

Sure, there will always be the debate about using public funds for essentially a private entity and how much public benefit accrues in terms of public revenue. But its hard to deny the public benefit that occurs when a venue such as a baseball or football stadium is built that eventually revitalizes a blighted area. Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) in Cleveland, Petco Park in San Diego, Coors Field in Denver, and AT&T Park in San Francisco are all great examples of how a sporting facility helped to reinvigorate and revitalize a community. That revitalization and redevelopment effort is currently underway in downtown San Jose. But just think what a ballpark in downtown San Jose would have done for the community.

At least 81 days out of the year, the downtown San Jose core would be booming with fans attending the games filling the air with excitement and pride. These same fans would be customers for all the downtown restaurants, bars, and shops. This is what its like in downtown San Jose when there is a Sharks game or a big concert at the HP Pavilion. Maybe the A’s moving to downtown San Jose is a dream long gone now that they are negotiating for a stadium in Fremont, but then again, maybe there’s still a glimmer of hope if they are still negotiating.