Marquis Apartments



Current progress: 11/20/13

Current progress: 11/20/13

This was the former site of a La-Z-Boy furniture warehouse. The official name of this project has been confirmed to be “Marquis Apartments”.

From the Core website:

“10th & Mission, in San Jose, is a 166-unit luxury apartment development project. It is comprised of a mix of studio, one, and two bedroom apartments. Resort-style amenities will include a swimming pool, skydeck, clubhouse, dog recreation area, fitness center, WiFi-Lounge, bike kitchen, and secured parking. The building sits on a 3.28 acres site and is adjacent to a future 1-acre public park. The project is a 3-story type V building, over a half-subterranean garage.”

The project includes a 0.25-acre strip of parkland (about the width of a street) to the south-southeast that will apparently revert to the City, marked “Park Dedication” on Core’s map. It is bound by the “abandoned” stretch of Mission Street, which will also be coverted to park. The Cannery Park complex (when it is finally built) will also contribute a 0.25-acre strip from the south side of old Mission Street.

Developer: UrbanCo, a partnership between Republic Urban Properties and Core.

Architect: Studio T-Sq. (They did Mariani Square, too.)

The project is estimated to be complete by March, 2015.


Returning to the valley

I just read an interesting webpage that speaks clearly to the cultural dilemma faced in San José’s Japantown.

San Jose’s Japantown remains the only traditional “Japanese Town” that has not gone through urban renewal. The streets and shops (though modernized) still look as they did in 1940. Many longtime stores such as the Kogura Gifts, still are family owned and operated. However, it is unknown how much longer this most “rural” of the Japantowns will remain in its present state. Those involved in the community continue to voice many different questions about the fate of their community.

Some of the main areas of concern are:

  1. Concerns that the community will be “over-run” by non-Japanese Americans who will take away opportunities for Japanese Americans to carry out their cultural or social traditions, and possibly challenge existing Japanese and Japanese American oriented businesses. There are conflicting feelings regarding the need to “market” Nihonmachi to appeal to a more diverse base of the region’s population while trying to retain the Japanese American character of Nihonmachi intact.
  2. Concerns that the decline of the Japanese American population and the dispersal or assimilation of the remaining population will lead to loss of customers for the business in Nihonmachi and involvement in the various organizations and activities of the community. Some family run businesses that trace their origins to the pre-World War II period are concerned that their children will not continue with the family business and other individuals wonder if Nihonmachi will have relevancy to the interests or needs of future generations.
  3. Concerns that local Japanese American history and the values and heritage many Japanese Americans wish to preserve will be forgotten and lost to society. This includes future physical development of historic structures in the neighborhood as well as cultural and social practices. Efforts continue in this area to secure city and state support to help with economic development plans and to create public projects that emphasize the unique cultural contributions of Nihonmachi. San Jose’s Japanese American community has historically faced many challenges. It adapted to major changes spanning many different political, economic and social issues. Today’s community will continue to change and develop as we move into a new century.

If I may add that San Jose’s Japantown is not a theme park, but it is a tourist attraction, in a city that is not rich in tourist attractions.

People don’t jam the streets of Japantown on Friday and Saturday nights in search of sushi – there are actually better sushi restaurants in other parts of the Bay Area.

They are in search of the inspiration that only Japanese culture can give to Silicon Valley.

Wenzhou Noodle house embraces local history

Carol Chen with her husband, Max Soloviev

We met with Carol Chen and her family today, at Roy’s Coffee and Tea on Jackson Street. Carol is the new owner of the Ken Ying Low building, which locals may remember as the Cuban International Restaurant.

She is from Wenzhou, and her family is in the restaurant business. In fact, her mother plans to help with some secret family recipes. A local resident, she was looking for an investment opportunity. When she was visiting Japantown for sushi, she saw the Ken Ying Low building for sale.

Carol was interested in the restaurant building because of the Chinese connection, which she identified with, and she was interested in the history of the place. Originally, she says, it was a noodle restaurant, and that inspired her to also make this a noodle restaurant.

She plans to build a “history wall” which will desribe the history of the building and of Japantown’s origin as a China town. The noodles will be made on the premises, probably as a public display, space permitting. This was inspired by Mountain View’s Maru Ichi restaurant, where the ramen noodles are made view of the public.  Carol plans to bring in some minor architectural features and decorations from China. It’s obvious that she is eager to respect the history of the building and of Japantown.

Carol said that the building has many challenges “from the bottom to the top”. It would have been cheaper tear down the building and start from scratch. The Mills Act assistance from the government will not help much; basically it will shave off 10% from the property tax, but attach many stipulations regarding how the development may proceed.

Carol will seek a building permit early in November. After that, it’s hard to get an idea of the opening date, but she guessed that it should be around July 2014. And we can’t wait to enjoy the noodles in this historic place!