Empire Seven Studios

As many of you in the San Jose Japantown area know, Juan Carlos Araujo and Jennifer Ahn have built a unique local art gallery on the fringes of Japantown called Empire Seven Studios – so called because they are at the intersection of Empire Street and Seventh Street.

Their murals have enlivened the walls of Japantown for many years. We wouldn’t be the same without them: Santo Market’s mural inspired by Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa? The “Shanghai” building’s looming irezumi dragon?

The building they have occupied and used for a gallery for ten years, is a former meat processing plant; it’s flanked by a motorcycle shop and a tire shop. Very funky and hard-scrabble corner of the city.

Yet it looks like their landlords have sold the property to a developer, to be built up into another apartment or condominium complex. For more information on this, check http://www.sjpermits.org for PDC16-028.

The good news is that they have an opportunity to acquire one of the old buildings on the 500 block of Sixth Street, an area that is in sore need of revitalizing.

They are looking for a little help. For those who truly love Japantown and want know how they can help, here is the way. Please watch Juan and Jennifer’s video on this page:

https://www.gofundme.com/save-empire-seven

Good news for the Nishioka building!

Yesterday, I finally met the new owners of the Nishioka building!
I have some very interesting news to share, but I caution you all: it’s VERY preliminary.

The new owners plan to restore the building and convert into a performance space. There may even be a spot for Empire Seven studios, since apparently they are faced with moving out of the space that they currently occupy.

Personally, I want to see more about this before I get too excited about it. But the really good news is that the beautiful old brick building is NOT facing the wrecking ball. Hooray!

No news from Nishioka

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I don’t normally report unless I have some news, but sometimes no news is news indeed.

The eponymous Japantown Community Housing has long finished construction. Workers have left from the neighboring property and cleaned up. There’s no sign that anything is happening at the Nishioka Fish Market site.

Last year, I called the real estate office that is advertising on the front of this historic building. The agent assured me that someone had purchased the building and neighboring property and was planning to fix it up. I did some internet research and found a likely lead. I called this person, but they said they had no knowledge about anything concerning this property.

You would think it would be an irresistible opportunity to make a mark on Silicon Valley’s most unique neighborhood. Does anyone out there know what is happening with this property?

This is all I have:

  • Reference Number: PRE15-017
  • Number: 2015 005734 AO
  • Address: 665 N 6TH ST SAN JOSE
  • Type: Shell (All Other Permits)
  • Sub Type: Prelim – Basic
  • Status: Complete
  • Description: Preliminary Review for a 35 unit residential project and to incorporate an existing commercial space on a 0.33 gross acre site

In other news, I talked to Hayden Butler, the restaurateur is now occupying the building that housed Rehoboth, the Ethiopian restaurant. He will be opening his barbecue restaurant soon!

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