Santana Row: Silicon Valley's Urban Oasis

Image of Santana Row Cafe
Image of Santana Row Cafe

Santana Row has been described as a cutout of Paris' Champs Elysees transplanted to Silicon Valley.  Its main thoroughfare, which gives name to the neighborhood, is the backbone of this urban oasis, lined with luxury stores and a variety of restaurants. 

And when the weekend comes, so do the luxury cars of every make and model.  Who needs a car show when you have Saturday nights at Santana Row?

But Santana Row isn't just another shopping mall.  To recreate the urban experience, they've created a new neighborhood all unto itself.

Atmosphere

Santana Row is designed to have the bustle and energy of an urban neighborhood complete with people dining outside, playing chess with two-foot pieces in the plaza, and sipping wine or spirits while watching the shoppers go by.

While there are major chain retailers like Best Buy and Crate and Barrel, among the list of stores on Santana Row, these behemoths are safely tucked away from where most shoppers would stroll as opposed to visit.  An outdoor courtyard with an abundance of tables and seating hosts live acts, and even the hot dog stand next to it adds to the authenticity.

Living in Santana Row

The developers deserve credit for creating an urban atmosphere from an area of urban sprawl, without making the feel contrived or out of place.  There are hints of unsubtle commercialism, though, with chains like Pasta Pomodoro and Z Gallerie, but the feel remains consistent, even if it's a little sanitized.

This is a mixed-use development in its purest form with shops, bars, restaurants, and living spaces for thousands.  There are currently 219 impressive lofts and townhouses that sit above the shopping arcade in three distinct buildings.

The Villa Cornet

The Villa Cornet is the easiest to recognize because of the distinctive towers that flank the two corners of the building facing the main thoroughfare, one home to a Borders bookstore. 

The largest townhouses (called "villas" in Santana Row parlance) are located on its upper floors and both visitors and guests are welcomed by fountains guarding the main courtyard leading to the 21 impressive three-story units, ranging in prices over $1 million. 

Yes, they're large and luxurious with the great amenities you'd expect, but what you pay for is the location at the epicenter of Santana Row, just a stone's throw from every corner of the neighborhood.  In this regard, they don't disappoint, whether you're facing the Hotel Valencia or Downtown San Jose.

The DeForest Building 

The DeForest Building pays homage to a key figure who changed the course of electronics and ultimately computing.  This building is named after Lee DeForest, the inventor of the vacuum tube: his inventions helped lead to radio as we know it today. 

The building itself has 98 two-story lofts and is reminiscent of industrial buildings in Lee's heyday around the turn-of-the-century.  The complex is above the Straits Cafe and is home to some of the most impressive patio spaces in Santana Row.

The Margo Building

The Margo is opposite the DeForest Building on Santana Row.  It doesn't have quite the backstory of the DeForest building, but nonetheless holds 100 high-end one- and two-story lofts, similar in design and construction to the ones in the DeForest Building.

Like the Villa Cornet, most units that don't face the main strip have a view of the mountains and downtown San Jose.  And like the DeForest Building, the Margo sits only a short walk away from Westfield's Valley Fair shopping center on the opposite side of Stevens Creek Blvd.