Sunday, November 30, 2008

Developing Daly City


DALY CITY — Mission Street's transformation into the city's central downtown is inching along.

Recently, city officials, architects and residents brainstormed to make the area pedestrian-friendly and vibrant with new retail and office space.

Conceptual drawings from last week's 13-hour charrette, or design workshop, zeroed in on four busy intersections at the Top of the Hill neighborhood.

"It was an exploration to get people to think very far into the future," said city Senior Planner Michael Van Lonkhuysen on Thursday, who looked at Redwood City's downtown as a model.

He said the areas "ripe for development" in Daly City include: East Market and Mission streets; Westlake Avenue and Mission Street; John Daly Boulevard and Mission Street; and the Muni turn-around at San Jose Avenue, Flournoy and Mission streets.

Some of the buildings at those intersections aren't vacant, and future development would depend on the property owners.

Currently, buses coming from San Francisco on Mission Street have to make a right turn onto Flournoy Street, and then a left on San Jose Avenue before doing a 180 degree turn onto the main road.

San Jose Condo Sales


With the market soft and the economy slumping, depreciation is of course a factor in the median price decline. But worsening the slide in median prices is the fact that post-foreclosure home sales are a growing portion of Santa Clara County's transactions. Those homes are typically sold at a discount by the lenders who repossessed them.

More than one-third of the resale homes sold in the county last month had been foreclosed upon sometime in the previous 12 months, DataQuick said. A year earlier, such properties made up less than 4 percent of sales.

Meanwhile, sales of "luxury" homes have dwindled as a force in the market. That happened first in reaction to higher interest rates for the so-called jumbo loans used by many buyers in the valley's most expensive communities. And it's happening now in reaction to the troubled financial markets.

For example, in October 2007, nearly 30 percent of resale houses sold for $1 million or more. Last month, just 11 percent of house sales were in that category. Meanwhile, sales of houses for $300,000 or less went from 4.6 percent to 9.9 percent of sales, according to DataQuick.

Mai Tran and her husband, Bryan, started looking for a home in San Jose's Cambrian neighborhood in the summer, and made four or five offers before sealing a deal for the three-bedroom house they moved into about a week ago. Their budget was about $700,000, but they only had to spend about $650,000 for the home they wanted. Tran said prices came down "a little bit, not that much" during her four-month house hunt, but said she thinks they could drop more now that the economy looks so bleak.


San Jose - Those new high rise residential buildings in downtown San Jose are selling pretty well according to the latest figures. They report a 150% increase in sales over last year with 69 new condo units purchased in Santa Clara County in September.

Laura Medanich is the Marketing Director for The 88 high rise and she confirms that sales are going well despite a downturn in the housing market elsewhere. Medanich says people with steady jobs, a down payment and the expectation to live in the home for at least two years are the ones they're seeing buying the downtown condo units. She adds the high rises are seeing what has to be considered a normal housing market in the middle of the storm.

The fact that the new residential towers were not available during the questionable lending practices that caused the mortgage crisis appear to have worked in favor of the new buildings. Medanich says this is the way the housing market used to be before the mortgage meltdown.


Zillow's report found that the median estimated value of all types of homes — houses and condos, regardless of whether they have sold recently or not — in the San Jose metro area fell to $640,803 in the third quarter, down 14 percent from the third quarter of 2007. Values have not been so low since the third quarter of 2004, the company said.

Humphries noted that home values in Santa Clara County cities such as Cupertino and Mountain View finally began to slip in the third quarter, despite the fact that other parts of the county already have seen double-digit depreciation.

"Prior to this quarter we were thinking of those as oases," he said. "It's very evident just how much the San Jose metro region has been buoyed by the tech sector."

In Cupertino, Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, the company said, the median estimated value of all homes declined between 1 and 2 percent in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier. Monte Sereno was the only community in the county where values rose compared with third quarter 2007, rising 1.3 percent.


Landmark Tower, a first-of-its-kind 18-story condominium project planned for western Milpitas, received conditional approval last week from Milpitas City Council. It approved the proposed $500-million, 375-unit mixed-use residential, retail and office high-rise at 600 Barber Lane at the former Billings Chevrolet dealership site.

Billed as a place that will offer unmatched views of the North Valley, Landmark Tower would also include three private parks contained inside, as well as one rooftop park.

The council's approval for Landmark Tower, following a Milpitas Planning Commission recommendation in late October, signs off on the final environmental impact report, conditional use permit, and general plan amendments that change the land-use of the three acre site from general commercial to very high density mixed-use with a high rise overlay.

"This is an infill site that is being redeveloped with high density," James Lindsay, Milpitas Planning and Neighborhood Services director, told the council.

In addition, Lindsay said the project will feature 148,805 square feet of planned retail space and 48,690 square feet of office space.


In a housing market still searching for a bottom, builders have pulled out all the stops to attract buyers.

Some have tried auctions, others through landscaping enticements or flooring upgrades, while others are offering pay the homeowner association fees for a year or more. One builder, Falk Development Inc., slashed prices at its San Jose project by almost 30 percent compared to 18 months ago.

According to the Ryness Report, which tracks new-home sales across all Bay Area counties, just 60 homes sold in 180 projects for the week ending Nov. 16, a drop of more than 25 percent compared to a year ago.

Condo Sales In San Jose


September was another bleak month for California new-home sales, but one segment of the Santa Clara County market bucked the trend: New-condominium sales were up nearly 150 percent from a year earlier.

Many of the units sold were in downtown San Jose, including at some expensive high-rise developments.

Buyers signed contracts to purchase 69 newly built condominiums in the county in September, up from just 28 condo sales initiated in September 2007, according to a report released Friday by the California Building Industry Association.

Five new-home projects accounted for more than two-thirds of those sales, said Jonathan Dienhart of Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, the research and consulting firm that provided the data to the builders trade group.

Of those top five, four are in or near downtown San Jose, and one is in Palo Alto. The San Jose developments that sold the most units in September are Cannery Square at Monte Vista by developer KB Home (12 units sold); The 88 by Wilson Meany Sullivan (10); Axis by KT Properties and Spring Capital Group (nine); and One East Julian by Regis Homes (seven).

Arbor Real by builder D.R. Horton in Palo Alto was also among the top five, selling nine units in September.

The median price of the 69 new condos buyers agreed to purchase in September was $550,000, down 12 percent from the median new-condo price a year earlier.


The 121 condominiums in Tamien tower are set to go on the market as rental units before the end of this year, according to development project manager Jessie Thielen.

The San Jose City Council and the Redevelopment Agency Board gave Barry Swenson Builder the OK Sept. 30 to convert the 11-story Skyline at Tamien housing development into apartments for up to five years. Thielen said the rental office is set to open by December.

City council approval was needed because the project is in a redevelopment area and required by the city's Inclusionary Housing Policy to have 20 percent of the units set aside as affordable housing.

"We feel that currently the sales market is not conducive to gaining the value that the building really holds," Thielen said. "Going to rentals allows you to preserve your asset to sell at a future date."

The controversial two-tower project on Alma and Lick avenues adjacent to the VTA station was originally set to include 242 units, but was put on hold after the first tower failed to attract the buyer interest that developers had hoped.

The marketing and sales office opened in March and closed three months later in June.

The rental plan has upset some neighbors who have been opposed to what developers pushed as a "luxury condominium" project ever since the San Jose City Council approved it in 2003.

San Jose - Silicon Valley Condos


So what are some of these firsts? I know a few, but the essential piece of the festival is for Silicon Valley residents to go online at and make nominations in five categories: historical; business and tech; sports; arts and culture; and personal (which can be anything from being the first college grad in your family to the first woman on the city council).

Winners in each category will be picked by judges who were pioneers in their own rights: former San Jose Mayor Janet Gray Hayes; legendary San Jose State judo coach Yosh Uchida and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

They'll be announced on the Web site New Year's Day at 10 a.m., when Leigh will host a "virtual pajama party" discussing the picks.

And the people who nominated the winners also will have a "first course" cocktail party with the judges at the swanky 88 condo building in downtown San Jose.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Path To Downturn San Jose

From Biz Journals:

On the portion of El Camino Real known as The Alameda, pedestrians can grab a piece of highly addictive cinnamon bread, a slice of New York-style pizza, coffee — either chain or local — or a fully loaded breakfast burrito. The district offers the best in Bollywood cinema, a nearly 100-year-old candy shop and an expansive space to spend an afternoon knitting your cares away.

Much of this stands in stark contrast to The Alameda of the recent past, business owners say, when prostitution activity was routine and, save for a few mom-and-pop businesses, empty or underutilized storefronts abounded.

Now, 17 years after the city of San Jose declared The Alameda a redevelopment district, restaurants, retail and housing have combined to make the once-blighted historic area a thriving place to live and play. Business owners say the area still faces some obstacles, but it has built momentum and has a promising future.

The Two Economies

From Forbes:

Flash back to a couple of weeks ago, when we were in California on vacation. At our hotel in Yosemite, it seemed like a meeting of the European Union: French, Italian, Spanish and British English filled the corridors. I asked a waitress and cashier how many Europeans were there and they both agreed it was two-thirds to three-quarters of the people they served.

So, where were all the Americans? Maybe they were staying in budget motels or camping out on the Valley floor. Maybe the Californians were too smart to travel to Yosemite in high season. Maybe others just didn't want to spend the airfare and $4 a gallon gas. Or maybe they were all shopping at Woodbury Common.

Whatever the reason, it sure looked as if California was in a recession.

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We really have two economies in the U.S. One is holding up pretty well; the other is overwhelmed by foreclosures, tighter credit and higher gasoline prices. In one economy, people are tightening their belts a little, but not too much. In the other, it feels like the worst economic slowdown since the 1980s, or even World War II.

The statistics don't capture the reality. Although jobless claims have risen and Friday's data may show an increase in the unemployment rate over July's reported 5.7%, neither figure has matched those of previous recessions--yet.

And shockingly for the doom-and-gloomers, revised gross domestic product numbers for the second quarter showed a pretty solid increase of 3.3%.

Though largely powered by exports, a real recessiondoes not typically produce that much economic growth.

The deeper you dig into the data, the more clear it is that the U.S. economy is sharply divided, and the fault line is usually where the housing bubble was the frothiest and the housing bust the most severe.

San Jose Home Values

Sue McCallister writes:

Once the long Labor Day weekend is over, Silicon Valley residents who want to buy homes will start hitting the open-house circuit in earnest, real estate agents say, eager to make purchases before the holiday season begins.
It's clear that with prices declining in many parts of Santa Clara County, sales generally accelerated this summer, especially among less expensive homes.
Interest in market
Many real estate agents also point to the relatively high number of "pending" sales in Santa Clara County as evidence of a market that's rebounding after a slow first half of the year. "Pending" means sellers and buyers have signed a purchase contract; there are different categories of "pending," based on how close the sale is to being complete. So far this year, June posted the year's best sales volume for single-family houses, with 966 changing hands in the county, according to multiple listing service data.
Short sales occur when homeowners sell their property for less than they owe their mortgage lenders; lenders must approve the transaction, and the process can take months.

More Research Needed


We have lived on the corner of Bachman and Massol for the past 37 years and have attended many town council meetings. Last night we attended the council meeting where the condo-conversion project at Bay Tree Apartments was debated. We listened in amazement that this large-scale project has gone so far without any specific town rules in place to guide the town staff, the town council, the developer and the residents.

There are many gray areas such as the treatment of renters, parking provisions and building code upgrading that has put everyone at a disadvantage, and there are no rules to guide them. We were also shocked to learn from Mr. Cole's statement that Lyon Development has had this project in the works here for three years.

Our question is simple. Why didn't the town start developing condo-conversion guidelines at the time the Bay Tree application was submitted? Rather than reinvent the wheel, why didn't the town research and cherry-pick best practices from other communities nearby with experience with condo-conversion guidelines (codes, ordinances or whatever they are properly called) from Palo Alto, Saratoga, Campbell and San Jose?

Spencer and Elli Anderson

Los Gatos

The Working Class In San Jose


"Working people in Silicon Valley are walking an economic tightrope, and any unexpected medical bill or even a car breakdown can push them over the edge," said Louise Auerhahn of Working Partnerships USA, a San Jose nonprofit backed by foundations, labor and faith-based activist groups.
Auerhahn is the principal author of "Life in the Valley Economy," a 128-report that likens Silicon Valley's economy to a barbell or an hourglass - great jobs at the top for software engineers and biotech scientists, and lots of low-paying jobs at the bottom for janitors and home health aides. This basic thesis drew support from business-affiliated public policy groups including Joint Venture Silicon Valley, whose reports spanning both corporate and governmental perspectives have painted the region's economy similarly in the past.
"The Bay Area Council has seen increasing evidence that an increasing wage disparity is putting the region at significant risk," Wunderman said in a telephone interview. For instance, he argued that the San Jose City Council should broaden its current living wage ordinance to cover contract workers at the city-controlled Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Other suggestions from the Working Partnerships report include partnerships between unions, business, community colleges and other local authorities to create job training programs to boost the skills of current or laid-off workers.

San Jose Planning Approval

Mary writes:

The San Jose Planning Commission gave its stamp of approval to a proposal for a condominium development at 746 The Alameda, which will be the first use of stackable parking in District 6.

The proposal to build eight condominiums above 2,800 square feet of commercial space on the corner of The Alameda and Bush Street was first submitted by developers more than a year and a half ago. Commissioners voted unanimously to rezone the 0.24-acre lot from light industrial to planned development.

The San Jose City Council will review the project on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. The use of stackable parking will be only the second one in San Jose. The first is a project under construction at First and Julian streets that will have a mechanical lift system.

Condominium owners at 746 The Alameda will have two free-standing spaces and seven two-car mechanical lifts that can be raised or lowered into a ground well without requiring drivers to exit their cars to operate.

Affordable San Jose Housing


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San Jose Condo High Rise

From Biz Journal:

San Jose's City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a liquor license for high-rise housing complex The 88, allowing a Safeway supermarket to open on the bottom floor of the new luxury complex on San Fernando Street between Second and Third.

The permit was initially denied by the city's planning commission, which cited a high number of liquor licenses already in place downtown. The new license will let Safeway only sell liquor on a small portion of its sales floor.

The supermarket will be about 23,620 square feet and the sales floor about 18,213 square feet, according to city figures.

Home Values Plunge

Sue McCallister writes:

In a season of stunning financial news comes more drama from the local housing front: The median house price in Santa Clara County plunged 26 percent last month compared with a year earlier, the county's steepest decline on record.
Houses sold in August went for a median price of $592,750, down from a hefty $805,000 in August 2007.
The last time Santa Clara County houses sold for a median price less than $600,000 was in September 2004, when the figure was $595,000. The August 2007 median price reflects a period in which primarily expensive homes were selling, because low-money-down loans for first-time buyers were suddenly unavailable. That drove the median price up, even as home values in some parts of the valley were falling.
But by this summer, it was mostly lower-priced homes that were selling. In August 2007, just under 2 percent of sales were past foreclosures.
Last month, 330 condos and townhouses sold in the county, down 25.2 percent from August 2007.
In San Mateo County, the median house price in August was $672,500, down 23 percent from a year earlier. In Alameda County, the median price of single-family houses sold was $463,500, down 29.8 percent.
Contra Costa County's median price for houses fell a staggering 48.4 percent since August 2007, to $315,000. In that county, however, bargain hunters were busy: Sales of houses rose 70 percent from last year, from 788 in August 2007 to 1,339 houses sold last month.

Zoning Changes For San Carlos Project?

From the San Jose Mercury News:

The San Jose Planning Commission unanimously supported zoning changes needed to make way for a mixed-use project at the corner of Meridian Avenue and West San Carlos Street.

Commissioners voted Sept. 10 to recommend approval of the Prezoning/Rezoning for a Planned Development Zoning District for the site.

San Jose is planning to annex the county parcels by the end of the year.

The 50 people present at that meeting were told by Michael Van Every of Republic Urban that the project would consist of 173 condominiums, 24 townhomes and 15,000 square feet of space.

Eight people who live in the adjacent neighborhood or nearby spoke.

Speakers requested more community outreach in the permitting stage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Affordable Housing For San Jose


In a contentious meeting, San Jose took a first step Tuesday toward requiring developers to sell homes at below-market rates in an effort to boost affordable housing throughout the city.

Developers and property owners have slammed the proposal, arguing that a requirement to build affordable housing would cut into their profits, stifle development when the economy is already weak and force builders to go elsewhere.

But San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo, who proposed the idea, said creating more affordable housing won't hurt developers as much as help the disadvantaged.

"These are tough times undoubtedly for housing developers, but we also know these are tough times for people who need housing," Liccardo said. "But these hard times will change for housing developers. "It will continue to be a place where teachers, health care workers, police officers, have difficulty living here and contributing to the community because of high housing costs."

If San Jose were to adopt the housing policy, officials would not be breaking new ground. San Jose has built about 2,700 affordable units in redevelopment areas since 1980 and about 17,000 citywide.

7-4 vote

Developers, real estate agents and other business groups argued that a mandatory citywide affordable housing policy goes too far. The vote was 7-4 in favor of the proposal, with council members Pete Constant, Nancy Pyle, Dave Cortese and Pierluigi Oliverio in opposition.

Arcadia Homes' Brad Durga said his company has been doing business in San Jose for 50 years. "Any new fee, whether it is a park fee, a public works fee, especially a fee that has the magnitude of this, raises the question of can we afford to do this?"

Several social justice advocates contended that more affordable housing makes a broader statement about the city's values.

Oliverio's opposition

Requiring developers to sell some homes at below-market rates only drives up the price for the other units and prices out entry-level home buyers, he argued.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Building inspectors in San Jose end strike

From the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 12, 2007:

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Striking building inspectors in San Jose are going back to work.

After walking off the job nearly two weeks ago, the 90 members of the Association of Building, Mechanical and Electrical Inspectors and city officials struck a deal involving disciplinary procedures, including whether inspectors could appeal firings to outside arbitrators.

The settlement comes after the strike had shut down some high-rise condominium and high-tech office projects.

The strike was San Jose's first public employee strike in more than two decades.

Experts: housing discrimination on the rise

From WBIR:

Nearly 40 years after a national law banned housing discrimination, an increasing number of complaints are alleging unfair treatment of minorities, the disabled, families and other groups.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and housing assistance agencies logged 10,328 complaints last year, a 12 percent jump from 2005. That?s the highest number since HUD started keeping track in 1990, when it included complaints from the disabled and families with children.

Nealie Pitts still gets emotional when she recalls a white homeowner in Chesterfield, Va., telling her five years ago that the house she wanted to buy "will not be sold to coloreds."

In San Jose, Calif., Hispanic families complained their apartment manager spoke disparagingly of Mexicans and gave their repair requests lower priority.

Post-holiday stats: Six thousand homes for sale locally; mortgage rates tick up

Sue McCallister writes Dec. 27, 2007:

After several days off to spend some quality time in airport terminals and assorted family members' living rooms, I'm back at work and feeling the need to pierce my post-holiday haze with a few real estate statistics. Here's where we are: In Santa Clara County today, according to, there are 6,091 houses and condos for sale (some of those may already be in contract to sell; the new MLSlistings doesn't allow public users to weed those out of the search results, at least so far as I have been able to tell). Of those, 682 are priced at $400,000 or less. Twelve months ago if I had written that sentence you would have been sure I'd made a typo. The county's for-sale inventory -- and that of the region -- has fallen for the past two months, but it's a seasonal thing, and doesn't mean that herds of buyers have suddenly started writing out deposit checks. According to a recent report from Coldwell Banker Silicon Valley, 181 houses and condos went into contract in the week ending 12/21. At the same time in 2006, new sales contracts totaled 244.

Housing market may improve in '08

From KGO:

MENLO PARK, CA -- With all of the negative news about the state of home sales in the Bay Area and around the country, the National Association of Realtors predicts the market will improve this year; winding up being nearly 1-percent better than 2007.

Three homebuilding executives appeared on KGO radio's the Ronn Owens Show with an optimistic view on new home sales in the Bay Area.

"Palo Alto, I'm talking about a million-dollar condo, 1,200 square feet in Palo Alto and we are selling 5 a month," said Vickie Nyland from Taylor Morrison Homes.

The sub-prime mortgage fallout has been kinder to major Bay Area cities like San Francisco and San Jose where there is less new home construction -- compared to places like Antioch. Nationwide, homes sales are expected to be down nearly 13-percent from 2006. reports:

Seattle-area home prices rose 1.2 percent in October from October 2006, making it third out of 25 cities for appreciation, according to a new report.

Seattle homes cost $221.56 a square foot – seventh highest on the list from Radar Logic, a New York research and analysis company. Prices ranged from $90.60 cents a square foot in the St. Louis area to $456.27 in San Jose.

Seattle had the fourth highest condo appreciation, with prices up 6.9 percent from a year earlier and a price per square foot of $257.79.

Charlotte topped Radar Logic's home appreciation list, with a year-to-year change of 4.6 percent, followed by New York, which was up 2.7 percent.

Radar Logic considered Milwaukee, San Francisco and Philadelphia neutral, because their prices were up or down by less than 1 percent. Prices in the remaining 19 markets dropped by at least 1.2 percent, with the biggest decline, 18.2 percent, in Sacramento.

The biggest increase in condo prices was 22.8 percent, in the New York area. Radar Logic attributed this to Manhattan sales making up a larger percentage of the area's overall sales.

Luxurious Urban Living Arrives in Silicon Valley

Matthew Marin writes:

San Jose, Calif.—Ushering in a growing trend toward living in downtown San Jose, Axis, the city's first luxury high-rise condominium, is expected to meet the demands of an urban living boom coming to the heart of Silicon Valley, where several condo developments are either under construction or proposed.

"Axis combines the best features of a sleek, modern high-rise structure with the concierge services and amenities one expects in a luxury residence—all conveniently located in the historic, commercial and cultural heart of San Jose," says Ken Tersini, principal of KT Properties, a local developer who, along with Spring Capital Group of Eugene, Ore., formed Almaden Tower Venture LCC to develop the project. The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal recently named Axis "Residential Development of the Year" for Structures 2007.

Designed by the Portland, Ore.-based firm of Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, the 22-story, glass and granite structure features 329 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units with luxury services and amenities. The units feature floor-to-ceiling windows, made possible by the first residential use of a unitized curtain wall in San Jose. "We designed Axis with the best of urban living in mind and to take advantage of incredible sights in every direction," says Kevin Sauser, principal at Ankrom Moisan. "Inside, the fixtures are sumptuous and contemporary. Axis will be a sight to behold, both inside and out."

With prices from the upper $400,000s to $2 million, the condos, ranging from 700 to 1,900 square feet, feature kitchens with high-end stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors. On the third-floor podium level, the outdoor common area offers an urban oasis, featuring a pool, barbecue area and spa. Along with a fitness center, located on the second level overlooking the lobby, these amenities allow residents to enjoy a healthy California lifestyle.

Head of MACLA, a San Jose center for Latino arts, resigning for new post

From the San Jose Mercury News:

MACLA board President Richard Ajluni said the 19-year-old organization has flourished since Alvarado's arrival, becoming a destination for a diverse mix of arts, from youth slam poets to art collectors.

Well-known organizations, such as the Warhol Foundation, have taken notice of offerings by MACLA - also known as Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana.

Alvarado's last day will be Feb. 29. She will then join 1stACT, a collaboration of cultural, business and arts leaders with a vision to transform San Jose into a destination with downtown condos, museums, a stadium, offices and street vendors.

San Jose's Japantown: a balancing act between developer and community

Katherine Conrad writes:

As demolition of San Jose's former storage yard begins this month, the stakes are high for a development struggling to get the right mix of culture, commerce and condos in the heart of Japantown.

Since March, city officials, community leaders and developer Williams & Dame of Portland have been working on the project that has already stymied one developer.

"This project must make economic sense and still give people a sense of place," said Jerry Hiura, a Japanese-American and San Jose resident who has been closely involved with the project. "At the same time, we want to build something beautiful that has a relationship with the existing community."

That's a tall order for any development. Given the nation's declining housing market, the challenge becomes even more formidable for a residential project estimated to cost $350 million.

As one of only three historical Japantowns and the location of the former Chinatown known as Heinlenville, the 5-acre site that served as the city's maintenance facility for decades, also is undergoing an archaeological excavation.

S.J. offering home buying education

From KGO:

The sub-prime mortgage crisis has certainly had a big impact on Bay Area residents. The city of San Jose is trying to minimize the loss of homes to foreclosure with new programs to educate people.

These are the kinds of classes that cost nothing and can save you thousands. Some of these classes will teach homebuyers how to avoid the subprime mortgage crisis, and other classes will teach homeowners how to survive it.

City officials introduced the city foreclosure prevention programs, a way for people to avoid facing foreclosure, like the 4,000 people have in San Jose in the past 18 months.

..."It's mainly hitting the condo market. The condos are usually the first homes people buy, those are the ones that got the teaser rates and were allowed to borrow money for far more then they could afford. Those are the ones getting hit very dramatically and its very sad " said Larry Stone, Santa Clara County Assessor.