Camera 12 project is first in San Jose’s downtown Opportunity Zone
First opened in 1998, Camera 12 was a vital part of Downtown’s Paseo de San Antonio, generating after-hours traffic with first-run films and events. The theater complex was closed in 2016, and the site has been a subject of considerable interest and concern since then, as Downtown dealt with a shrinking retail base and experienced a slow-down in new construction.
Located at 201 South Second Street, the Camera 12 site was purchased last December by Urban Catalyst, a new partnership of long-established San Jose development movers and shakers. Led by Erik Hayden and Josh Burrows, Urban Catalyst is raising funds and making investments in areas designated as Opportunity Zones, part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation.
“Our motto is Transforming Opportunity into Impact,” Hayden said as he addressed the “groundbreaking” audience in March. He stressed that the partnership was about leveraging good investments in a good real estate market, but more importantly, “We want to see activation here. We want to see coffee shops, dining, people buying flowers. We want to make improvements, block by block.”
The improvements anticipated at the Camera 12 site include transforming the theater-style lobby into retail space and converting the theaters on the upper floors into office space. Symbolizing the demolition efforts that will soon start, the ceremony involved dignitaries donning safety helmets and wielding gilded sledgehammers, stopping short of actual demolition action.
Participating in the event were City Councilmembers Johnny Khamis (D10) and Sylvia Arenas (D8) and representatives of City Councilmembers of Raul Peralez (D3) and Pam Foley (D9). Mayor Sam Liccardo was represented by Kelly Klein, his economic development and land use advisor. Downtown business interests were represented by Scott Knies, San Jose Downtown Association executive director. Matt Mahood, CEO of the silicon valley organization, served as the event’s MC.
Including 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 73,000 square feet of offices, the Cinema 12 property, to be known as Paseo, is the first of seven projects Urban Catalyst is undertaking in Downtown. According to Hayden, the projects have a combined value of $700 million. When completed, the projects will make a significant change in the look and feel of the city's Downtown.