Google primes downtown San Jose space with socials
Audiopharmacy, a hip-hop/soul collective, will perform at Creekside Socials on the west side of downtown San Jose. Photo courtesy of Jamestown.

    Downtown San Jose’s resurgence has been building throughout the summer with block parties, art festivals and concerts. Those happenings have been primarily in the district’s core. That’s about to change.  

    The west side of town near Diridon Station and the future home of Google’s Downtown West mega development is kicking into gear with Creekside Socials. Google has engaged Jamestown, a real estate firm, to manage the events. The first social takes place Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at Barack Obama Boulevard between West Santa Clara and West San Fernando streets. Residents are encouraged to dance to live music, paint a mural, build a chain reaction contraption and enjoy a diverse menu offered from local food trucks.

    Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, said Creekside Socials is the first step in generating a sense of place at Downtown West and is aligned with the long-term vision to create a commercially and socially thriving district.

    “The offerings will reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the community,” he told San José Spotlight, adding that future events will include recreational health and wellness classes, STEM workshops and art talks.

    Two Bit Circus Foundation, which brings science, technology, engineering, art and math education to youth, will be at Creekside Socials. Photo courtesy of Two Bit Circus Foundation.

    The Google Downtown West project spans 80 acres near Diridon Station and will feature 7.3 million square feet of office space, 4,000 homes, 15 acres of parks and a 30,000-50,000-square-foot community center. It also boasts 500,000 square feet for retail, cultural, education and arts uses. A quarter of homes in the area—approximately 1,000—will be affordable. The project was put on hold this year, but the tech giant said it’s still committed to the city.

    Google’s decision to host the socials is part of its commitment to bring the vision of Downtown West to life throughout the multi-decade development process, Scott Foster, vice president of real estate and workplace services, said in a statement.

    “We’re investing millions of dollars to improve the site and bring the community together,” he said. “Creekside Socials is the first step in activating this part of San Jose for the future.”

    San Jose Downtown Association CEO Alex Stettinski told San José Spotlight Creekside Socials will breathe life into this part of the city.

    “Especially now,” he said, “in a time when… we’re still trying to fill vacancies, and people are still coming back to work… these types of activations are amazing. Developers look into this area and see there is some momentum going on. It does make a difference.”

    Lisa Serbaniewicz, a Jamestown spokesperson, said Creekside Socials at Downtown West are designed to bring residents together through local art, music, food and collaborative programs.

    “Folks can meet their neighbors, discover new local businesses and celebrate San Jose’s vibrant culture,” she told San José Spotlight.

    One of the vendors will be Two Bit Circus Foundation. Chief Operating Officer Mindy Sanchez said children and families will be invited to create the Ultimate Recycling Machine, a Rube Goldberg chain reaction device incorporating recycled materials. The foundation’s goal is to introduce children to science, technology, engineering, art and math education, Sanchez said.

    “Through art and creativity is where big ideas come from,” she told San José Spotlight.

    Audiopharmacy, a hip-hop/soul ensemble and cultural community arts collective, will headline the Creekside Stage. It’s a homecoming for San Jose native Teao Sense, who founded the band, which tours internationally and provides cultural workshops for youth. Members of the group hail from around the globe. Their performance includes trumpet, trombone, turntable scratches, guitar, bass, beatbox, singers and dancers.

    “Our group is called Audiopharmacy because people have told us we bring the healing,” he said. “We like to interact with the audience, get the crowd moving… and bring everyone together.”

    San Jose Downtown Manager Nathan Donato-Weinstein said it looks like downtown’s energy is on the uptick.

    “People are rediscovering what it means to enjoy each other’s company,” he told San José Spotlight. “The downtown summer event season, with the concert series, art festivals, night market and Urban Vibrancy block parties brought energy and got people out and about.”

    Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected].

    Creekside Socials

    The first event kicks off on Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Barack Obama Boulevard between W. Santa Clara and W. San Fernando streets.

    List of vendors:

    • Two Bit Circus Foundation: A nonprofit dedicated to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education. It makes learning fun through hands-on children’s programming with a sustainability mindset.
    • Local Color: A San Jose woman-powered nonprofit that builds equitable pathways for creatives to thrive by partnering with developers and organizations to provide mural opportunities and studio space. It will curate 10 local artists to create live art at the event.
    • Good Karma Bikes: A nonprofit full-service, second-hand bike shop that will provide a bike valet service for people to bike to the event.
    • Moveable: A local street food event production company with a network of more than 90 diverse food trucks. It is bringing local food and beverages to the block party.
    • Audiopharmacy: A hip-hop ensemble headlining the event on the Creekside Stage. The cultural community arts collective represents the power of love, music and collective liberation.
    • Additional artists, performers and food vendors will be announced on the Creekside Socials Instagram leading up to the event.
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