San Jose historic building is moving to be remodeled for affordable housing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (BCN) – A historic old San Jose apartment building is down the street after spending its first 110 years near the corner of South First and East Reed.

On Sunday morning, the two-story Pallesen Apartment building, a four-plex Mission Revival-style building built in 1910, is hooked to the back of a semi-trailer for the slow three-block journey to its new home on East Reed Street and South Fourth Street .

Contractors have placed a system of steel I-beams under the building and will place a group of hydraulic trolleys under the beams to roll the building out onto Reed Street, said Patti Wang Cross, a spokeswoman for Habitat for Humanity East Bay / Silicon Valley .

“Then a semi-trailer will pull the building by the dollies to bring it down the street,” said Wang Cross.

As soon as the building is safely back on solid ground, it will be renovated and converted into affordable apartments for sale.

The entire $ 1.6 million project is led by Habitat for Humanity in East Bay / Silicon Valley and the Preservation Action Council of San Jose with support from the City of San Jose and developer KT Urban.

The building has long been considered a special part of the neighborhood and features design elements from the Prairie, Craftsman and Mission schools of architecture, said Ben Leech of the Preservation Action Council.

It was built for Christian Pallesen, a Danish immigrant and local wood mill master, and his wife Lillie by the team of Frank Delos Wolfe and Charles McKenzie, prominent Bay Area architects, Leech said.

The Pallesens lived in one unit and rented the others to local workers, he said.
“It’s always been affordable working-class housing, so it’s a kind of poetic justice to continue in that role,” Leech said.

Tenants of the building over the years have included farm laborers, clerks, salespeople, at least one waitress, and a man, Gerald Doyle, who, according to a story on the property submitted, worked as a printer for the then-named San Jose Mercury newspaper with the California Office of Historic Preservation.

“While we value its architectural importance and its historical significance, we ultimately think that saving these types of buildings is really important, even if this famous architect was not involved, because they add a sense of purpose to a sense of continuity with the story, ”he said.

KT Urban gave the building to Habitat for Humanity and the city granted a $ 250,000 loan with the idea of ​​relocating it to make way for a new mixed-use tower project.
San Jose also sold the land on which the building will land to Habitat for Humanity for $ 1.

Without these efforts, the building would simply have been demolished, as it does not meet the technical requirements for monument preservation.

According to an agreement with the city, the refurbished units will be sold to people who earn less than 80 percent of the area’s median income and cost between 37 and 45 percent of current market prices – meaning qualified people can buy one for about 80 percent for $ 232,000 .

The crews will prepare the building for the move around 7 a.m. on Sunday, and the entire journey to its new location should take about five hours, Wang Cross said.

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