San Jose approves Japantown arts center

A rendering of an arts center to be built in Japantown by the organizationSilicon Valley Creates. (Courtesy of Silicon Valley Creates)

SAN JOSE — A long-empty lot in San Jose’s Japantown is set to become an arts center in the next few years in a move that the city and local residents hope will help revitalize the area.

The city council on Tuesday approved with no opposition an agreement that will allow the nonprofit organization Silicon Valley Creates to build a cultural and arts community center at the former Japantown Corporation Yard along N. 7th Street between E. Taylor Street and Jackson Street.

A rendering of an arts center to be built in Japantown by the organization
Silicon Valley Creates. (Courtesy of Silicon Valley Creates)

“This is a very exciting day for our community,” said Connie Martinez, head of Silicon Valley Creates. “This is a big lift and we are going for it.”

The center, slated to be 55,000 square feet, is expected to house the nonprofit, as well as San Jose Taiko, the New Ballet School, the media nonprofit CreaTV and other groups. It will include rehearsal space and meeting rooms for other arts organizations and community groups. The space is expected to be bordered by housing on two sides and a park.

Martinez hopes the center will ease the pressure local arts organizations face given the high rent costs in Silicon Valley. The organization hopes to file building permits in the next few months, she said, and expects the building to be fully occupied when it opens.

As part of the agreement, San Jose will lease the city-owned land to the nonprofit at just $1 a year for 55 years. Traditionally, the city has subsidized arts projects. The Mexican Heritage Plaza, built with funds from the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency, gets $450,000 a year from the city, for instance. But aside from the below-market lease, the city won’t provide any more financial backing to the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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