“Ajisai” becomes “Mio” apartments

Hydrangeas in JapanRoem has now – inexplicably – switched the name of their apartment complex from “Ajisai” to “Mio”:


Bringing Luxury Leasing to Japantown San Jose

Mio offers a rare collection of modern residences with deep-rooted tradition in the heart of San Jose’s historic Japantown, just steps from unique dining and outdoor shopping destinations, and centrally located near major tech employers and the San Jose International Airport. The property will feature a mix of high-end finishes and luxurious common areas for entertaining, including a rooftop deck with views of downtown, and a resort-style spa for relaxation and rejuvenation. Once complete, Mio will provide 103 residences to renters looking for a unique living experience in dynamic Japantown.

I wonder what tempted them to discard the name “Ajisai” (Japanese for hydrangea)? The only nod that they were willing to give to Japanese culture is now gone. The last we heard, Roem abandoned their plan (agreed with San Jose city government) to bring low-income housing with retail. That’s now a pipe dream. Now, they tout this infill development as “luxury apartments” (with a rail freight line in the backyard!).

One has to wonder when Japantown is going to finally win the respect that it deserves.


Sneak Peak at Ajisai!

Roem’s Ajisai Apartment complex on Taylor and 7th is revealing a glimpse of its final look, as workers removed scaffolding from the side of the building on Taylor Street.

The Ajisai Apartments as visualized.

The Ajisai Apartments as visualized.


The Ajisai Apartments as seen from Taylor Street.

The side of the apartment complex facing 7th street is still covered with scaffolding, but there are indications that the scaffolding will be removed in time for next Sunday’s Farmers’ Market.

Regarding the south end of Ajisai


Architectural plan from Roem showing southmost corner of developmen

The southmost corner of the Ajisai development is the closest to Jackson street, Japantown’s main street. Some community leaders have questioned the design, apparently concerned that it forms a visual barrier between Japantown and this apartment complex.

From looking at the plans that Roem filed with the City of San Jose, there doesn’t appear to be anything like a wall separating the Ajisai complex from Jackson street. Roem did provide a sound wall (9), which will naturally serve as a buffer between the railroad tracks and the apartments. Perfectly reasonable.

South of the end of the resident parking lot, appears a spot for trash bins, then a “bio-swale” (6) which is a place for precipitation runoff to collect and be absorbed into the ground. It calls for landscape vegetation, which is usually a wet-tolerant plant such as sedge.

Of course, the very southmost corner of this triangle is owned by the railroad company, and consists of ballast gravel on the ground and a utility box that runs the grade crossing. I doubt that SPRR will allow this to be altered.

So as far as I can see, I don’t see any issue with this part of the Ajisai plan.

By the way, Roem’s construction of the Ajisai Apartments appears to be going along smoothly.