A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of plans to demolish the brutalist bank structure at 199 Park Avenue in Downtown San Jose. While the verdict is not final, it is a significant step toward the construction of CityView Plaza, a 3.8-million square foot office proposal by the Jay Paul Company to revitalize the city block. If built, the development would reshape the block between Almaden Boulevard and South Market Street, central to the city’s urban core.
Judge Sunil Kulkarni ruled on the case. As reasoning for his decision, Judge Kulkarni cited that 199 Park Avenue “could potentially be used as an office or event space, but re-use may be limited due to the design of the structure, which is relatively small and has limited natural light…” In contrast, its preservation would reduce the scale of CityView Plaza by roughly 1.21 million square. The existing complex contains less than that with 960,570 square feet.
The demolition of the Bank of California building has been legally challenged by The Preservation Action Council of San Jose. The organization’s legal action to preserve or adaptively reuse the 1973-built brutalist structure designed by César Pelli could realistically still create a significant roadblock for construction. According to reporting from the Bay Area News Group, Ben Leech, executive director of the Preservation Action Council, expressed dismay at the ruling, stating that the organization “still stand[s] by the merits of our arguments. Preserving and adaptively reusing this building in the long-term is a better option, for both this development and the city of San Jose as it evolves.”
Demolition permits have been filed in conjunction with CityView Plaza. However, the timeline for when the process of clearing the existing buildings will start has not yet been established. Once demolition does begin, construction is projected to take around three and a half years from groundbreaking to completion.
The full proposal of CityView Plaza will create six interconnected office towers, each rising 19 floors high. Several skywalk bridges with double-height corridors will connect each building, providing an opportunity for two acres of open terraces. At ground level, retail spaces will activate the site for pedestrians and office employees alike. Along with the 3.8 million square feet of offices, 1.6 million square feet of parking will be produced across a five-floor underground garage.