I've found a place in North San Jose in the Berryessa area. It's north of Berryessa and south of Hostetter. I found it to be a good blend for me personally in terms of school districts (high 700 to low 800 APIs for elementary and middle schools) and convenience (close to 680, markets, and new Costco).
I found that in the end it was mostly about personal preference and life plans. I decided to invest for the long term (for 10 years or so), so schools came into the picture. If I had been going for a short term approach, I would have gone with the Oakland/Brokaw area which is a newer development and located to some nicer stores and restaurants. It's also pretty close to all the major freeways (880, 101, 680). Schools there aren't so great though, so I would have wanted to have moved out before the kids hit school (within 5 years or so).
If money hadn't been an issue, I would have gone Rivermark in Santa Clara with its nice new school and great convenience, but it's pretty pricey there. It would have been quite a squeeze to get in there though.
So that's basically my journey. Thanks for everyone that contributed!
you may also want to consider developments along The Alameda west of downtown and the arena. These redevelopment areas have drastically improved over he past 15 years. Good restauarants in the area, close to downtown, freeway access. A new Whole Foods is going in soon at The Alameda and Stockton St...
Another area of North San Jose to consider for townhomes is off Montague Expwy at Rivermark Plaza north of 101.
I wiish you tremendous good fortune in your hunt and subsequent purchase!
I have a great property for you,
Are you looking just for townhomes or would you want a house (fixer upper)
These properties are in the best school area too, these properties won't last.
I have time tomorrow if you;d like to take a look.