Convert rooftops downtown into private terraces

San Jose boasts 300+ sunny days a year and today is no exception, despite it being early March. But what is the city’s greatest asset, is also it’s most under-utilized aspect when comes to building design and outdoor space. San Jose’s outdoor spaces need to maximize the use of the great weather San Jose is blessed to have. Public parks and trails are great, but sometimes the private comfort of your own home is the best remedy after a long day.

And this is where there has to be more improvement. For those urbanists who dwell in downtown San Jose, private outdoor patios, balconies, and terraces are highly desired. Whether it be a place to allow a beloved pet companion some room to move around, or just to be able to sit outside in the private comfort of your own space. Whatever the reasoning, these spaces need to be prioritized. One way to add more of these spaces where there aren’t currently, is by converting roofs or part thereof into a terrace. Many of the older buildings downtown have retail on the bottom floor with either offices or residential units on the top floors. Imagine taking the roof of that building and giving life to it by putting in a vegetable garden, or flowering vines, or  a jacuzzi, or a dinning table, or a BBQ or fire pit.

This is common place throughout the world, where urban areas have multiple levels of usable outdoor space along a given street. These rooftop terraces would add vibrancy and life to the fabric of the area and provide great views of the city and mountains. Imagine how desirable those old buildings would become if the owner could boast a rooftop terrace for the tenants. Imagine having the ability to walk up a few flights of stairs to a private oasis to sit and read a book on a warm afternoon. These terraces are the answer to the question that suburbanites always pose, “But living downtown, you won’t have a yard… What will you do?”

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7 thoughts on “Convert rooftops downtown into private terraces

  • I feel like new spaces are mostly taking this into account. Both the 88 And 1 S. Market have a “rooftop pool” at the 4th or 5th level, plus an open rooftop terrace for their residents. 360 Residences and Axis both have the pool deck raised on the 5th or 4th floor as well. San Pedro Square Market has a lot of outdoor space. While I think that new properties that take all the footprint does have an issue here in that they would have to take part of the sidewalk for outdoor seating.

    Retrofitting older properties like offices, hotels or apartments/condo buildings is harder (but the Saint Claire apartments did do that admittedly).

  • Steve Malone

    As I recall, a rooftop terrace was in the original plan for restoration of the Hotel Sainte Claire. We could start by reviving that one.

    • There is a rooftop terrace on the apartment side, I think there isn’t on the hotel side. The Marriott has a rooftop lounge it seems, never been there, but you can see it from satellite images, and from the street you can see the lights.

      I would totally suggest this to the condo board if I thought we could do it on a cost effective basis.

  • Matt

    Even the one at Scott’s on Park is great. I’ve never eaten inside there ha.

  • Tony

    Have you seen the rooftop decks on the new Penny Lane townhomes in Campbell? I thought these were very cool when I saw them.

  • Tebo

    Sit on the roof and get buzzed by the jets landing at the airport. Great idea!

  • SL

    Planes or no planes, sounds like a great idea!

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