Another bizarre twist on a terrible 2020: a 110-year-old San Jose apartment building has a date of demolition after a deal to move was signed in February.
The Pallesen Apartments, a four-unit building on East Reed and South First Streets, were to be relocated three blocks away to excess land in town that was to be sold to Habitat for Humanity for $ 1. Now the building is due to be demolished in the first week of February to make way for the Garden Gate Tower, a 27-story residential building.
So what happened
KT Urban, the original developer of the Garden Gate Tower, had agreed to pay the cost of the move, but expected Habitat for Humanity to pay a foundation at the move location, a piece of land jammed next to an Interstate 280 driveway. Habitat for Humanity was unable to cover these costs, however, and there seems to have been confusion as to whether the nonprofit expected KT Urban to pay for it too. (KT Urban says this was never part of the deal.)
As early as November 2019, the city of KT Urban issued a site development permit, which included a 90-day window that expired in April to complete the move of the building to a suitable location, as well as the city council Raul Peralez The city staff assured him that everything could be found out during that time. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and all priorities were shifted and attention shifted elsewhere. During this time, another buyer expressed interest in the Pallesen building and told KT Urban that he could even take care of the moving costs, so further discussions with Habitat for Humanity seem unnecessary.
However, the city’s then-historic preservation officer said the potential move location on 30th Street was not well suited for the historic property. And when an estimate was finally received for the move, site prep, and foundation work, the $ 1.5 million price tag was more than the buyer could handle. It would be cheaper to move it to the excess urban land, but the only way the city could avoid an open bidding situation at market prices is to sell the land to a nonprofit development group like Habitat for Humanity.
Over the past few months, Peralez and attorneys for the Preservation Action Council of San Jose, who pledged $ 10,000 to refurbish the building, have been looking for a way to save the building. The best chance seems to be to find individuals or a group interested in preserving history and helping affordable housing that could fill the financial void in a hurry.
“We believe there is a chance,” said Mike Sodergren, PAC-SJs Advocacy Chair. “It’s a long shot, but there’s a narrow way forward.”
Peralez hasn’t lost hope either, but he knows the clock is ticking. “I’m obviously disappointed with the way it is planned,” he said. “I was delighted that we had a real opportunity to save the house and move it for more affordable housing.”
Mark Inverse, a principal at KT Urban, has been working on the problem on behalf of Scape, the new primary owner of the development in the UK. He said the company was not determined to demolish the building, which should be evident from the work it has been doing to move the building by 2018. Tersini has postponed the scheduled cancellation date more than once to find a solution. However, with the approval already approved by the city council, KT Urban and Scape are not obliged to take any further measures.
“I would hope that the groups interested in getting homes here will proactively work with the development community to make this happen,” said Tersini, who expects these issues to be more common as San Jose’s older areas are around redeveloped the city center.
Sodergren from PAC-SJ says it’s a one-way street. “We should ask more of our friends in the developer community,” he said. “Those who cannot include historical locations in their projects should take responsibility for bringing them to recipient locations or developing them elsewhere.”
Oral fireworks could take place on January 11 if the project’s application to extend the construction period is the subject of a community meeting. But for this fairy tale to have a happy ending, a new hero is needed to step in.
Get to know SOFA: Fil Maresca has put together a musical holiday treat in the first SoFA Holiday Special, an online show on December 20th at 7 p.m., in which local artists perform their favorite music for the holiday. And it’s going to have a 1960s variety vaudeville vibe with some San Jose-centric skits, fake news pressure-sensitive adhesives, and the ever-cheerful Mighty Mike McGee, who starred as the narrator of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas in the Park.”
Here is a selection of the fun ones: Cellista, Chris Landon, monkey, Help, Steely Nash, Jackie Gage & Slay Belles, Kat Robichaud, and Ren Geisick & Will Bohrer. Tickets are available at www.sofamusicfestival.com. Don’t forget to tip the bands.
LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE HELP: Nine volunteers from Santa Clara County were honored by the Silicon Valley American Red Cross on December 3 in an online event that had been postponed earlier this spring.
CEO of the Silicon Valley Chapter Ken Tower presents San Jose residents Liz Dietz with the Clara Barton Award, the highest honor of the American Red Cross, named after its founder. Dietz has been a Red Cross volunteer for 40 years and has held management positions in the areas of disaster control, military service and other areas.
The other award winners were Valori McCoy from San Jose, Peter Danforth from San Jose, Linda Powers from Mountain View, Mark Butler from San Jose, Raj Sheth from San Jose, Ken Wallace from San Jose, Mary Ann Reilly from Sunnyvale and Jim Mollerus from Campbell.
GOOD DEED DEPT .: Wells Fargo took a minivan instead of a stagecoach to the second harvest of the Cypress warehouse in San Jose’s Silicon Valley on Thursday, but what was inside mattered. It was filled with personal protective equipment for the nonprofit food bank’s staff and volunteers. Delivering around 2,900 bottles of hand sanitizer, hundreds of disposable masks, and nitrile gloves wasn’t all the bank gave. The bank also presented Second Harvest with a surprise gift of $ 100,000.
And although we all don’t have 100 grand this Christmas season, every little bit helps this year. With a donation of just $ 50, you can provide groceries for 100 meals. Visit www.shfb.org to support Second Harvest or give it to your organization of choice.