SAN JOSE – A legal move to halt the rehabilitation of a key block in downtown San Jose remains unresolved and the case is due for a final decision in June, court records show.
At the center of the legal action is a planned development that will loot the decade-old CityView Plaza in downtown San Jose and replace it with a modern technology campus that could bring 14,000 or more jobs to the urban core of the city.
The San Jose Preservation Action Council has raised concerns as project plans call for the demolition of an obsolete Bank of California building. In his lawsuit, she claims the building is an important example of a utilitarian architectural style called brutalism.
The lawsuit was filed in September 2020, and the parties in the case tried to resolve the matter.
“There is currently no agreement,” said Nora Frimann, a lawyer for the city of San Jose, in an email to the news organization.
A Santa Clara County Supreme Court judge overseeing the case is awaiting legal information from both sides.
“The parties are debating,” said Susan Brandt-Hawley, an attorney with the San Jose Preservation Action Council, in an interview with the news organization. “An agreement was not reached.”
The conservationists are trying to use the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) to challenge the city’s June 2020 decision that approved the redevelopment of CityView.
Jay Paul Co., the developer of the CityView project, sees the development as an icon of the humble skyline of downtown San Jose.
CityView Plaza office complex in a downtown San Jose location bordered by West San Fernando Street, South Almaden Boulevard, Park Avenue and South Market Street. Gensler
A large tech company is believed to be a candidate to rent large portions of CityView Plaza or the adjacent 200 Park office tower that Jay Paul Co. is building across the street on Park Avenue.
When completed, the CityView Plaza is expected to have a total area of 3.6 million square feet, with a trio of 19-story office towers and 24,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.
The CityView development site is bounded by Park Avenue, Almaden Boulevard, West San Fernando Street and South Market Street.
The building at 170 Park Ave., built in 1973, is an architectural example of Brutalism, a minimalist style that emerged in Britain in the 1950s when that nation sought to quickly and inexpensively expand neighborhoods destroyed during WWII reconstruct.
“The San Jose Preservation Action Council objects to the approval of the CityView Plaza project by the city of San Jose, which, under the guise of progress, would destroy unnecessarily significant historical resources,” the group stated in its first court record.
In an October interview, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo criticized the conservation group’s actions. The mayor argued that the building is not an architectural wonder.
“They don’t call it” brutalist “architecture for nothing,” said Mayor Liccardo at the time. “It’s the kind of building only a CEQA attorney can love.”