A global leader in technology that's at the heart of the self-driving car revolution has chosen San José for a new "Megafactory," further solidifying the region's central role in the emerging autonomous vehicle sector.

Velodyne LiDAR Inc. announced the project in a news release Jan. 17. The company produces sensors that allow autonomous cars to "see" the roadway, creating a high-definition, three-dimensional map of the environment. 
"This Megafactory provides Velodyne LiDAR the space it requires to manufacture its cutting edge, long-range sensors in a single location, as well as the ability to scale to meet growing global customer demand for LiDAR while pursuing an aggressive growth strategy," said Mark Shandley, vice president of operations, Velodyne LiDAR, in a statement. "In addition, the location in Santa Clara County is ideal, as it allows us to produce LiDAR sensors in the US with a skilled workforce alongside precision robotic manufacturing processes so we can continue to grow and deliver world-class products."

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that the 200,000 square foot facility at 5521 Hellyer Ave., San José, which Velodyne acquired in December, will create "hundreds" of jobs.

The news comes following a $150 million investment into the company from Ford Motor Co. and Baidu.

City of San  José Office of Economic Development (OED) is working with Velodyne to provide support for the company's new San José facility.

The industry publication IEEE SPECTRUM calls Velodyne's product "the Cadillac of lidars," but the company's expansion will help it scale up production and bring down prices.

Velodyne, which was founded in the 1980s, provides the latest example of the automotive industry expanding big-time in Silicon Valley. In San José, the electric car startup NextEV threw open its doors in October for a grand opening of its headquarters. LeEco, which is developing an electric car as well as a panoply of consumer electronic devices, recently opened a North American headquarters in North San José
Read more about Velodyne LiDAR.  For more information, contact Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Business Development Officer, OED.


OED's blog series continues with a close look at the success of woman-founded and woman-owned Naprotek, a thriving member of the competitive electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry in San José.

EMS in San José benefits from the ecosystem of incumbent and up-and-coming hardware companies, decades of intellectual capital and process knowledge, and a skilled workforce that allows these companies to thrive in hyper-competitive environments.

Located in North San José, Naprotek Inc. has for more than 20 years worked with some of the top players in aerospace and medical device technologies. Electronics engineering continues to be dominated by men: the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that fewer than 13% of practicing electrical engineers are women, and very few women have broken into the top levels.

The company was founded in 1995 by Najat Badriyeh, who immigrated to the US from Lebanon as a child. She launched her career in the burgeoning EMS industry in the early 1980s. Read the blog post for more on how Ms. Badriyeh built and runs her business.

For more information, contact Donovan Lazaro, Business Development Officer, OED. 

On December 21, 2016, the Silver project broke ground at the corner of Auzerais Avenue and Sunol Street, the start of a Midtown San José development that will include three buildings varying in height from four to 11 stories, with a total of 800 market-rate housing units

The   8.25-acre  development site will cover roughly a full city block and will include 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail along West San Carlos, along with high-end amenities like game and exercise rooms, swimming pools, dog parks and multiple indoor and outdoor lounge areas. In addition, it will have solar power and other energy-saving architectural features, plus 1,040 parking spaces.

The developer is Green Republic LLLP, a joint venture between Republic Urban Properties and Swenson Development. The property is adjacent to Del Monte Park and was previously owned by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

According to Green Republic president Michael Van Every, it will take six to eight years to fully build out the estimated $400 million project. The first phase will take "a good 25 months or so, weather permitting," and won't be ready for occupancy until about 2019, he added. "The next phase we believe will start in June or July 2017 and then shortly thereafter, probably 2018, we'll start phase three," he added. 

For more information, contact Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Business Development Officer, OED.

Retail business owners in Downtown San José or in a Neighborhood Business District are invited to apply for one of the two Storefront Assistance Grants now available again through the City.

The Vacant Storefront Grant is available for small business owners leasing a ground floor space that has been vacant for longer than three months, and that will require building permits to activate. The grant can provide reimbursement for City fees, permits and taxes up to $15,000.

The Exterior Space Improvements Grant is available for small business owners occupying a ground floor space, and want to enhance their storefront to improve the pedestrian experience, for instance with adding outdoor seating, creating a curb cafe, upgrading signage or repairing or replacing sidewalks.

Funding of these two grants is on a first-come, first-served basis, and can be completed through the City's Webgrants site.  

For more information, contact Blage Zelalich , Downtown Manager, OED.  
Property Owner Mike Messenger and Habitat Design Project Director Jorge Romero accepted the award. Notable features of the restaurant's design are the open-air garage doors, use of 100-year-old Douglas fir  in the patio and trellises, hand-painted signs and other repurposed materials.

"The open-air garage doors give Olla Cocina an indoor / outdoor feel, like being in a little village square down in Baja California," Messenger said.

The Golden Nail has recognized contributions in downtown design and architecture annually since 1996.

Olla Cocina, 17 N. San Pedro St., features pozole, ceviche, duck tacos, short rib tacos and Cadillac margaritas.

For more information, contact Blage Zelalich, Downtown Manager, OED.


    The Building Division is hosting a free public workshop on February 24, 2017, for trade professionals, property owners, and anyone interested in learning more about the recent state update to the building codes. The State of California updates the building codes every three years, and the updated 2016 codes have now replaced the 2013 codes. City staff will highlight the significant changes, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Date:  Feb. 24, 2017
Time:  8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.   
Place:  San José City Hall, Wing Committee Meeting Rooms 118-119

RVSP:    Email   Sarah Shull or call 408-535-7722 
Validated Parking: From 6th Street, enter the lot under City Hall Tower and follow signs to the Wing.

Please see the workshop flier for workshop details and session topics, and visit for more information on the building code changes.

Santa Clara County's WaterLink program helps cut utility bills for restaurants and grocery stores. The new nonprofit program helps businesses in Santa Clara County save water, energy, and money by installing free low-flow dish sprayers and faucet aerators.

The service is free because the program is funded by the California Department of Water Resources and the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

To request a visit, please call 855-815-1385 or visit  The WaterLink team speaks English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The visit takes about an hour.

Got a vacant lot under one acre?  

The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone (UAIZ) program, approved by the City Council in November, enables a contract between the City of San José and owners of vacant, unimproved, or blighted property under one acre whereby the property owner agrees to keep the property in active agricultural use for a period of five years in exchange for a property tax benefit. 

The site must meet a range of criteria, including no dwellings are allowed and the site must have water service.

Details and the application form are available online. For more information, contact Rosalynn Hughey, assistant director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, at 408-535-7911. 


For more information, call 408.535.8181, or contact Elisabeth Handler




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