The Preservation Group is making an attempt to dam the large advanced in downtown San Jose
SAN JOSE – A group of heritage conservationists are seeking a court order to reverse the city of San Jose’s approval for a major redevelopment of a key block in downtown San Jose and stop the destruction of a building that was constructed in the early 1970s.
A redevelopment of CityView Plaza is seen as the cornerstone of downtown San Jose, a project that could bring 14,000 or more jobs to the urban core of the city.
However, the San Jose Preservation Action Council raised concerns in a lawsuit about the possible demolition of the Bank of California building as part of a proposal to create a modern tech campus to replace the outdated CityView Plaza in downtown San Jose.
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 as the nation sought to quickly and inexpensively expand neighborhoods destroyed during WWII 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 called for a court order to grant the project is stopped.
A settlement conference is scheduled for October 27 in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. The group is attempting to use the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) to challenge the city’s June 2020 decision authorizing CityView’s redevelopment.
“They don’t call it” brutalist “architecture for nothing,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Tuesday. “It’s the kind of building only a CEQA attorney can love.”
The conservation group believes the redeveloped city block could be woven into the Bank of California’s existing structure, according to the petition.
“The building can and should be integrated into any new project on the CityView Plaza site that is large enough to accommodate significant new builds without sacrificing one of the city’s most distinctive buildings,” the Preservation Action Council said on the file. The group is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting “historically significant resources in San Jose,” according to its website.
The group cited the judicial filing and declined further comments.
The bank building takes up 0.5 hectares of the 8.1 hectare CityView Plaza site.
The conservation group hopes the court will revoke the city’s approval of the project and publish a new environmental impact report.
These results would likely result in a dramatic slowdown in construction of the project bounded by Park Avenue, Almaden Boulevard, West San Fernando Street and South Market Street.
Jay Paul Co., the developer of the CityView project, sees the development as an icon of the humble downtown San Jose skyline.
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.
A Jay Paul executive previously said the company plans to begin demolishing at least part of the site by the end of this year.
The conservation group’s petition aims to provide “significant mitigation” to protect other unspecified buildings in San Jose and to fund historical surveys whose parameters have not been defined.
However, the Mayor of San Jose believes the city could be better served overall A groundbreaking tech campus with new offices, restaurants, and thousands of jobs. Liccardo suggested that only a small group of preservationists support the brutalist bank building.
“The rest of our community is thrilled to see this happen,” Liccardo said.