SAN JOSE – A long-shuttered movie theater undergoing a dramatic makeover will become the future home of an indoor miniature golf course that could greatly revitalize this part of downtown San Jose.
Urban Putt has leased approximately 13,300 square feet in Paseo, an extensive redevelopment and reconstruction of the former Camera 12 Theater at 201 S. First St. in downtown San Jose. Urban Catalyst owns and redevelops the former cinema site.
“Our goal is to activate downtown San Jose,” said Erik Hayden, founder and managing partner of Urban Catalyst, an increasingly active development company in San Jose. “It’s a great first step.”
Urban Putt has locations in San Francisco and Denver. The San Francisco location features a golf hole in which the obstacle is shaped like a Transamerica pyramid with a windmill. Other holes feature a skyline reminiscent of San Francisco.
“We look forward to bringing the bespoke Urban Putt experience to downtown San Jose,” said Steve Fox, Founder and Chief Greens Officer of Urban Putt.
The Paseo development will total approximately 100,000 square feet and will include 75,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of retail space.
The miniature golf company’s lease was arranged by Nick Goddard, senior vice president of Colliers, a commercial real estate company, according to Urban Catalyst.
“It’s one of the most exciting buildings in downtown San Jose,” Goddard said. “The ceiling heights are spectacular. It is ideally placed on one of the busiest walkways in the city center,” he added, referring to Paseo de San Antonio.
The Urban Putt lease agreement represents an entirely new tenant and a unique type of business for downtown San Jose.
“Urban Putt could have chosen anywhere in the United States, but they chose downtown San Jose,” Goddard said. “They see the huge downtown population will likely come back. There are massive developments coming, including Google.
Google has proposed a new district of office buildings, homes, shops, restaurants, entertainment hubs and cultural centers near Diridon station where the search giant could employ 20,000 people.
Additionally, unique experiences and entertainment venues are only slowly beginning to return to downtown in the wake of coronavirus-related business closures.
“You have potential deals in hotels and the convention center and there’s a huge void of entertainment options for all of those people,” Goodard said. “Urban Putt is looking to build on that and they realize downtown San Jose is where they can do that.”
The vast majority of retail and restaurant space on the Paseo is either leased or is in the process of entering into lease agreements.
“It speaks to the confidence we see in the future of downtown San Jose and the strength of this prime location,” said Josh Burroughs, partner and chief operating officer at Urban Catalyst.
The Urban Putt site in San Francisco’s Mission District is housed in a former mortuary building from the year of the great earthquake of 1906.
“Urban Putt transformed the space to reflect a design concept that is part of Jules Verne, by Rube Goldberg, while preserving many of the building’s historic elements,” the company states on its website.
In Denver, miniature golf holes feature elements that conjure up images of mountainous and austere Red Rocks Park in Colorado.
The San Francisco and Denver sites both have dining halls and bars.
“San Jose will be a fun destination that will appeal to a wide range of people, from entire families on the weekend to millennials enjoying a night out, from students at nearby San Jose State University to community-building events. team and company celebrations,” Urban Putt executive Fox said.
Fox, a former writer for a tech publication, came up with the idea for Urban Putt after he and his wife Leslie Crawford started throwing parties at his San Francisco home with a miniature golf theme, a post on the company’s website.
Guests were encouraged to bring their own personalized miniature golf holes to theme nights. Over time, the events and the enthusiasm exceeded the limits of a residence.
In 2012, Fox quit his job as a writer, founded his company, launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, and hired a team of designers and builders with expertise in miniature golf holes. In 2014, the first location opened in San Francisco, according to an article posted on the company’s website.
“Urban Putt will provide a unique experience for visitors to South Bay and beyond,” Hayden said. “This is just the beginning of our plans to light up the Paseo de San Antonio.”