What worked for Mountain View?

As a former resident of Mountain View, California, was proud and amazed by how that city managed to turn a virtual ghost town into a destination city.

Shopping malls (such as Stanford Shopping Center and Sunnyvale Town Center) were sucking businesses away from downtown Mountain View. These voids were gradually filled by whichever businesses that the city could lure. Valid and useful businesses in their own right, they yet didn’t have the universal appeal that Mountain View really needed.

I’m not sure how Mountain View did it; there were probably now-extinct California redevelopment dollars involved. Many assume that this was due to “Google dollars”; but this was before Google’s success.

It’s obvious that the Mountain View miracle would never have happened without innovative design, community involvement – and a willingness to think big!

Currently, as a “destination city”, it’s considered a treat (or a date) to simply walk down Castro Street and see what one discovers. Empty storefronts are quickly seized by businesses anxious to have space in this area.

It’s ironic that now, many districts such as Santana Row will invest millions in ripping down old malls and building artificial downtown areas!



Corp Yard updates

Got an armload of updates regarding the Corp Yard project.

– San Jose City Council Assistant Fred Buzo confirmed that, no, William & Dame has NOT secured funding for the Corp Yard project, regardless of what was reported in Nichi Bei Times. That part is still up in the air.

– Zoning change is under way, and it should be a walk in the park, relatively speaking, consisting mostly of updating the description. The environmental impact report is still scheduled to finish up in January. And the property will be ready for development by whoever decides to take up the challenge.

– There have been substantial efforts in cleaning up the Corp Yard itself. Apparently, a solar contractor, and its subcontractor, had left some items in the Corp Yard: random construction materials and trash. A representative said that it was primarily a clerical error which caused the debris to be overlooked. But, by the time of this writing, all of the things, whether valuable construction material, or just junk, has all been spirited away. The Corp Yard should be virtually free of random items now.

Corp Yard project is on track!

From the Nichi Bei Times:


The developer Williams & Dame (WDA) has secured funding to purchase the Corp Yard property and will put it before the San José city council in 2014, with a view to starting construction in 2015. Seems a long ways away, doesn’t it?

It’s probably better that way. Parking during peak hours is limited in Japantown. With the Roem project Ajisai going ahead at full steam, chewing up some valuable parking places, and with the senior housing project on the horizon, it’s doubtful that three full-bore construction projects in J’town would be very pleasant.

There’s some confusion in the article regarding space for San Jose Taiko. Originally WDA had said they were reserving office, storage and practice space for the Japanese drumming troupe, but there’s hints that somebody assumes it would be a public performance space. I’m sure that will be cleared up, one way or another, in due time.