This advocacy group keeps watch of development of Fountain Alley. The Fountain Alley parcel is crucial to the future of downtown as a vibrant, attractive destination. The very center of the downtown historic core, this site is an essential component of the Downtown Associations’ “filling the gaps” strategy. Moreover, the Fountain Alley lot’s public and private spaces are envisioned as the centerpiece of the district, with a high quality project and downtown’s very best architecture. A vital gathering place, Fountain Alley should prove its namesake—not only in fountains (or artisan wells), but also its delightful public corridor—El Paseo Court, Fountain Alley, Gordon Biersch; courtyards that surprise, attract and define the San Jose urban experience.
The San Jose Downtown Association recommends that the Greater Downtown Strategy Plan, the citywide Economic Development Strategy and the Downtown San Jose Historic District Design Guidelines should all be part of the discussion over this parcel’s future. The City’s Economic Development Strategy goal of downtown being the creative and cultural center of Silicon Valley should be an emphasis. SJDA also recommends that any infill development on the Fountain Alley parcel should adhere to the following elements:
- High quality, high-density mixed-use residential/commercial development.
- The portion of the project that exceeds 60 feet in height, if any, should be sensitively designed to compliment the Bank of America building, therefore requiring an exception to the current guidelines on height for the district.
- The City should implement the adopted Parking Plus Program at this location to the maximum extent possible.
- There should be active retail oriented storefronts on both Second Street and on Fountain Alley, with particular emphasis on the corner.
- Above-grade parking, if any, should not be visible from the street or Fountain Alley.
- The project should respect the general scale and composition of the neighboring historic buildings.
- The project as a whole should be designed by an architect experienced in working in historic downtown urban districts whose experience includes high-rise buildings in low-rise settings.
- The project’s common areas and public spaces should be of world-class architecture.
- The pedestrian alleyways between First/Second, Gordon Biersch/Fountain Alley and El Paseo Court should be considered important public spaces/service streets, with particular attention to Fountain Alley and the incorporation of water features that recognize the alley’s namesake.
The public spaces in and around Fountain Alley should emphasize features (pavers, lighting, landscaping, fountains, art, etc.) that enhance the district and the development’s architecture.