Developer again solicits input from neighbors, shares new concepts

005The developer Related California called a meeting on Wednesday to continue to solicit questions and opinions about their ongoing design phase of the Japantown Square development in San Jose.

Coming to the meeting were around 50 neighbors, community leaders and fans of San Jose’s Japantown to see how development was coming along.

Construction may begin early next year, officials with Related said. This would see completion as soon as late in the following year.

Designers with Related apparently enjoyed explaining how the design would incorporate Japanese motifs; the words “origami” and “tatami” were thrown about with abandon.

It appears that the site will be divided into three zones, which I will call:

  • The Taylor building
  • The Park
  • The Jackson building
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The Taylor building.

The Taylor building would be a square structure in the northern section of the property, and would be devoted to the apartment tenants. In the corner on sixth facing the park, Related described a glass “jewel box” that would provide facilities for the tenants.

The design of the park is still open to discussion. Ken Kaye, the landscape architect, floated several ideas. Among them was a “memory path” that would describe a straight line diagonally across the park. As discussed earlier, this would feature several historical artifacts, telling Japantown’s story.

He showed a concept for the Farmer’s Market, which would place the booths around the park in a more organic pattern. The booths shown were greater in number than what is seen today at the market, so there’s obviously room for expansion. The proposed design for the CATV/Taiko building is firming up, although it is not yet complete. Suffice to say that it lacks the “drum set” concept that we saw in earlier sketches.

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I have to say I was excited when I saw the southern apartment block, the Jackson building, glistening with glass store fronts at the ground level. It appears that the design is intended to provide retail all along the Jackson Street border, and up along Sixth Street for about 1/3 of the block. These stores or restaurants would face Western Contract Furniture, Sushi Maru and Union Bank on the Miraido building side, kitty-corner to Kazoo Restaurant, and across Sixth Street from Minato, Zonkey and Wenzhou Noodles. I think this is going add a ton of new life to San Jose’s Japantown!

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