Legal steps to block the huge downtown San Jose complex remain unresolved – Silicon Valley
SAN JOSE – Legal action to stop the redevelopment of a key block in downtown San Jose remains unresolved and the case faces a final decision in June, court records show.
At the center of the legal action is a planned development to 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 that project plans include the demolition of a Bank of California building. The suit claims the building is an important example of a utilitarian architectural style called brutalism.
The lawsuit was filed in September 2020.
“There is currently no agreement,” said San Jose city attorney Nora Frimann 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 in talks,” Susan Brandt-Hawley, an attorney with the San Jose Preservation Action Council, said in an interview.
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 downtown San Jose skyline.
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.
Upon completion, the CityView Plaza is expected to have a total area of 3.6 million square feet and include a trio of 19-story office towers and 24,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, according to city documents.
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 that were destroyed during World War II reconstruct.
“The San Jose Preservation Action Council objects to the city of San Jose’s approval of the CityView Plaza project, which, under the guise of progress, would destroy unnecessarily significant historical resources,” the group stated in its first court record.
In an interview in October, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo criticized the conservation group’s actions. The mayor argued that the building was not an architectural marvel.
“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.”