When Veronica Cruz opened her yoga studio in San Jose’s SoFA District eight years ago, the neighborhood wasn’t the hotspot it is today. South First was a quieter place and Downtown Yoga Shala, along with a handful of others, weathered the economic downturn. Over the years, Cruz says, roughly 10,000 people have struck a pose in the loft-like atelier. But the future of the studio has suddenly been thrown into doubt, and Cruz is appealing to Mayor Sam Liccardo; the city’s economic development director, Kim Walesh; and San Jose Downtown Association President Scott Knies for help. According to Cruz, she planned to relocate down the street to Metro’s old home, a 12,000-square-foot brick building now occupied by the CrossFit gym Third Space—a term for the communal place between home and work. Cruz says gym owners DJ Downs and Danielle Valley approached her about setting up shop on the second floor. Cruz worked out a verbal agreement, she says, and then informed her landlord, Richard Berg, that she would move out in November. Berg promptly put up a “for lease” sign and found a new tenant in Heroes Martial Arts owner Alan “Gumby” Marques, whose historic building is being displaced by The Core Companies’ high-rise plans. But as the date was nearing for Cruz’s move, she took off for Europe and Third Space found another tenant, leaving one of the South Bay’s oldest yoga studios in jeopardy of going homeless. Downs and Valley didn’t immediately respond to Fly’s requests for comment. Cruz blames her own naiveté for the botched deal, and she says the Downtown Association has been trying to find her a temporary spot across the street in a row of low-slung buildings slated for demolition to make way for Core’s development. Meanwhile, Cruz will hold a “twilight party” to mark the departure from the studio that she and many of her clients have come to consider not a “third space,” but a second home.
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