Uber co-founder plans public dinner at downtown San Jose food court


SAN JOSE – A downtown San Jose catering business by Uber’s co-founder could come up with a new twist: public meals on the first floor of a historic building where a CloudKitchens venue is planned.

The public meals in the CloudKitchens project are interesting as this type of activity could create a more lively scene in this section of downtown San Jose.

Increased activation would be a boost for downtown San Jose, which has struggled to heal the economic malaise sparked by more than a year of coronavirus-related business closures.

“This idea has great potential,” said Mark Ritchie, president of Ritchie Commercial, a real estate company. “The interior of this building would be beautiful. You would have restaurant customers downstairs.

The structure in downtown San Jose, formerly known as the Odd Fellows Building, was originally built around 1885. Parts of it represent the Italian architectural style and feature cast iron facades.

A company controlled by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick proposed a building overhaul that would turn the historic property into a CloudKitchens site that can accommodate dozens of small commercial kitchens.

In 2018, a real estate company run by Kalanick paid $ 7.3 million for the historic building, with addresses ranging from 82 to 96 E. Santa Clara St. The real estate business is called City Storage Systems.

Exterior of a downtown San Jose building between 82 and 96 E. Santa Clara St., slated to become a CloudKitchens site, a business run by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, concept. The images show the exterior of the existing building (top) and the proposed new sign (bottom): “San Jose’s Downtown Food Hall”. // City storage systems, City of San José

Goldman Sachs Bank provided $ 100 million in financing to City Storage Systems, the Kalanick-led group that purchased the major building on the corner of East Santa Clara Street and South Third Street, according to county records. The loan was granted at the time of purchase of the property.

Today, the Kalanick Group is moving forward with an effort to radically change the uses of the building to turn it into a site for CloudKitchens, a company headed by Kalanick.

Part of the building’s uses would be a “public catering establishment,” according to documents filed with the City of San Jose.

“Countertop-style seating along the walls, along with limited tables and chairs” would be a feature of the “dine-in-place” options on the building’s first floor, said Dana Peak, a city planner from San Jose.

Bob Staedler, managing director of Silicon Valley Synergy, a land use planning consultancy, believes the Kalanick Food Hall in downtown San Jose is likely to be a premier venue.

“Travis Kalanick doesn’t do anything halfway,” Staedler said. “He knows he’s building something he wants to last. Kalanick will do his best for his business and the community.

Diners could enjoy dishes prepared in the building’s kitchen by established and up-and-coming chefs, creating the possibility of an ever-changing menu.

“We have to support those kinds of entrepreneurial endeavors that can make downtown San Jose cool,” Staedler said. “Let’s see what Kalanick has to offer. “

As the city center emerges from its coronavirus woes, unique venues such as the CloudKitchens business will be needed to provide economic sparks, Staedler believes.

“You want reasons to go downtown,” Staedler said. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution, a lot has to happen. You want people to spend money, visit and linger in the city center.

Historic building located at 82-96 E. Santa Clara St. in downtown San Jose which was purchased in 2018 by a company run by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick. // George Avalos / Bay Area News Group


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