Museum Place proposal accelerates downtown’s urban momentum

by Mark Haney

Momentum. Urban momentum. There is a tangible urban momentum in downtown San Jose for the first time. 1 South Market is 2/3 leased after 3 months, Centerra will begin leasing in November, Silvery Towers are in early stages of construction, Parkview Towers have a site development permit, Post Street tower is finishing entitlements, Mill Creek and Marshal Square are nearing start of construction, and SoFA could be going higher with the Market Gateway proposal… and there are several more buildings planned before 2020. Yes, downtown San Jose is on the up. Literally.

But as incredible as all of those building are, when Nate from the SVBJ broke the news about the newest proposal by Insight Realty, a new bar was set in San Jose. This proposal is unlike any other in San Jose’s history. On its face, it is a mixed-use building with elements of an idea first proposed by this blog. Not only will this project have boutique hotel rooms(something San Jose desperately needs) and more residential units(also desperately needed), it has the first proposed new office space in downtown in a half a decade. For once in San Jose, a proposal has exceeded expectations.

This project exemplifies howt a great building design can be transformative. First, this proposal is collaborative and embraces partnerships. It will include exhibition space for the Tech Museum a great community benefit. Second, it will create a more vibrant streetscape as people will be coming and going throughout the day and night. This enlivened street will then spill over to Plaza de Cesar Chavez, making it the true central plaza of the city. Last, this project is modern, majestic, and completely captivating. It has a green roof that articulates down in steps. It embraces the San Jose sun with numerous balconies and green roof spaces(including on top of the Tech Museum). It’s hard to think of a better multi-use building for that parcel. It is the perfect proposal for the neighbor to the Tech.

It can now be said that downtown has accomplished something. San Jose has become a viable place for stunning architecture, rooftop gardens, and buildings that are well designed and multi-functioned. This project is pivotal to the success of the central downtown core, and it points to the momentous strides San Joseans have made in demanding only the best designs for our new buildings.

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