Resources, Incentives, Zoning and Permitting


As the urban center of Silicon Valley downtown San Jose is home to office workers, high-rise condo dwellers and students. There are household tech names, start-ups, shopping and restaurants.


The workforce and population downtown is young, educated and diverse. With lots of dining, after-work entertainment options and shopping there’s loads of opportunity downtown.


Need help getting started downtown? Nate LeBlanc can walk you through city hall permitting processes, help you find a location and more.

Resource Programs


The Business Coaching Center: The center offers a variety of resources for opening or expanding a business in San Jose. Follow this link to see a flow-chart to help you understand the steps you’ll need to take.

Small Business Ally: This team works directly with small businesses that are opening or expanding operations. Based out of the Business Coaching Center, they guide you through the permitting and approvals process.

Incentive Programs


Zoning and Permitting Regulations

Before opening a business or developing your property, check out the Downtown Core zoning regulations to explore what is and what is not permitted. Here’s a map that looks at what’s currently planned.

More important codes to know and understand if doing business downtown deal with the Sign Ordinance, A-Frame Signs, and Historic District Guidelines:

Storefronts Initiative: This initiative provides financial support to small businesses moving into previously vacant storefronts. Currently the program provides up to $16,000 in waived permitting fees.

Special Tenant Improvement: This program provides incentives to developers who quickly turnaround improvements for certain kinds of tenants. The incentives include construction tax reduction, building permit fee payment plans, one-stop permit process, expedited plan check and inspection services.

Downtown Parking Incentive: The Downtown Parking Validation Program offers to two hours of validated parking for customers of downtown retail businesses. Subsidized and free parking in city-owned garages is also available for new office and retail tenants, subject to availability. Contact Elias Khoury with the city’s department of transportation to learn more.