Downtown San Jose development boom seen: real estate experts

SAN JOSE — Downtown San Jose is becoming a magnet poised to entice a widening array of tech companies, large and small, that seek urban settings close to transit, according to a panel of commercial real estate experts.

Google’s interest in creation of a transit-oriented village near the Diridon train station, along with low costs for land and office spaces and the prospect of expanding rail connections near relatively plentiful housing, were among the factors cited by the experts in making the case for downtown San Jose as a new economic boomtown. The observations emerged during a meeting sponsored by the San Jose office of SPUR, a non-profit urban planning group.

Matthew Lituchy, chief investment officer with Jay Paul, a veteran real estate company that is one of the Bay Area’s most successful developers with big projects in hotbeds such as Mountain View and Sunnyvale, said his company constantly scouts for locales potentially attractive to tech companies.

“We realized that everything we were looking for, an urban setting with plenty of transit, was right here in downtown San Jose,” Lituchy said. “We decided to take a look at downtown San Jose.”

San Francisco-based development firm Jay Paul has done more than look downtown. The developer, whose Silicon Valley tenants include Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, has begun to grab choice sites in the urban core of the Bay Area’s largest city.

“We are really excited to be here,” Lituchy said during a discussion with those who gathered at the SPUR event in San Jose on Jan. 30.

In July 2018, an affiliate controlled by Jay Paul paid $283.5 million for CityView Plaza, a huge complex of offices, shops and restaurants bounded by West San Fernando Street, South Almaden Boulevard, Park Avenue and South Market Street.

A few weeks later, in August, a Jay Paul affiliate paid $46 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


San Jose to consider expanding wage theft protections

Months after it surfaced that workers on a high rise in downtown San Jose were held in captivity and forced to work without pay, the City Council is expected to consider stronger wage protections to prevent companies from refusing to pay employees what they deserve.

In a memo to the city’s Rules and Open Government Committee, several members of the San Jose City Council — Raul Peralez, Chappie Jones, Magdalena Carrasco and Sergio Jimenez — suggested broadening the city’s current wage theft protections to cover construction workers on both public and private projects. They also said developers proposing construction projects involving more than 5,000 square feet of floor area should have to disclose wage theft violations by their contractors and subcontractors. If companies are found to have unpaid wage theft claims, the council members argued, they should be disqualified until the claims are paid.

In July, the U.S. Labor Department announced that more than a dozen immigrants working on the Silvery Towers project at the corner of N. San Pedro and W. St. James streets were held in squalid conditions in a Hayward house and forced to work on projects across the Bay Area.

The changes, the council members wrote, “will ensure that another Silvery Towers does not occur again and that the city is not blindsided by another atrocity.”

Under normal circumstances, the proposal would have been discussed by the committee and then moved on to the full council for consideration. But several years ago, three of the council members discussed wage theft protections, an inadvertent violation of the Brown Act, which outlines open meeting requirements for local governments, said City Attorney Rick Doyle. Ultimately, Doyle said, the committee couldn’t discuss the issue, but could refer it to the March 1 priority setting meeting, where the council will lay out, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Hovercraft on San Francisco Bay? Advocates say its time has come

Gliding on a cushion of air, hovercraft skim the water’s surface, reaching more places faster than traditional ferries.

The “futuristic” vessels debuted in the Bay Area around the same time BART was building its first test track, but unlike the space-age trains, hovercraft failed to take off. Now, with worsening traffic congestion and limited funding for new ferry terminals, the business group that brought the Bay Area BART is hoping it’s an idea whose time may have finally come.

Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman serves as vice chairman on the Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s board, which operates the San Francisco Bay Ferry. He’ll be asking his fellow directors to consider studying the idea at its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 8.

It’s an appealing prospect for the nine counties that border the bay, mostly because hovercraft can reach areas large catamaran can’t, said John Grubb, the council’s chief operating officer. The wingless aircraft have no draft, allowing them operate in extremely shallow waters, eliminating the need for costly and environmentally disruptive dredging, he said.

They’re faster than large catamarans, promising to cut the time of long-distance trips, from Antioch to San Francisco for example, by as much as 30 minutes. And, they’re more fuel efficient, Grubb said.

“They can be attractive not only if the places are silted-in, but on really long runs,” he said. “They don’t create a wake, so they don’t have to slow down as much or even at all along the shoreline.”

Though little used in the United States, hovercraft have long been deployed for commuter service in the turbulent English Channel, with some of the crafts carrying as many as 425 passengers and 60 cars. Today, the vessels tend to be smaller, with more frequent service, Grubb said.

But, the vessels are no stranger to the San Francisco Bay.

Oakland piloted the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Apple faces state probe over ‘slow response’ to FaceTime bug

New York’s attorney general said Wednesday it would investigate Apple’s response to a bug in its FaceTime video-chat app that let people make a call and hear audio from the other end before the call was picked up.

Michele Thompson, the mother of the Arizona boy who discovered the bug, said she first started warning Apple about it more than a week before the company took action.

“Thompson said her efforts included multiple tweets, Facebook messages, emails to Apple and calls to the support line over the last week,” tech website C-Net reported Tuesday.

“On Jan. 22, she also sent the company’s general counsel a fax about the bug, with her law firm’s letterhead on top. And on Jan. 25 she uploaded a video to YouTube, demonstrating the flaw, and sent it to Apple multiple times.”

Apple did not acknowledge the existence of the flaw until reports about it went viral Tuesday. The firm disabled the group-call FaceTime feature and said it would fix it this week, Digital Trends reported Wednesday.

New York’s attorney general, in announcing its probe, cited the importance of privacy in private communications.

“We’re launching an investigation into Apple’s failure to warn consumers about the FaceTime privacy breach & their slow response to addressing the issue,” the attorney general’s office tweeted.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, a Texas lawyer filed suit against Apple over the bug, tech website Ars Technica reported Wednesday. Larry Williams said in the lawsuit that he had updated his iPhone to obtain the group FaceTime feature, not to become a victim of “unsolicited eavesdropping,” according to the website.

Williams said he had been “undergoing a private deposition with a client when this defective product breach allowed for the recording of a private deposition.”

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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