Judge backs downtown San Jose hotel project preservationists seek to block

SAN JOSE — The development of a downtown San Jose hotel next to the historic Hotel De Anza was approved legally by city officials, according to a judge who signaled he has decided to rule against preservations who had sought to block the project.



a tall building in a city: Downtown San Jose hotel tower with 272 rooms at the corner of North Almaden Boulevard and West Santa Clara Street, concept.    C2K Architecture


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Downtown San Jose hotel tower with 272 rooms at the corner of North Almaden Boulevard and West Santa Clara Street, concept. C2K Architecture

At the center of the litigation is a proposed project to develop a hotel tower at 8 Almaden Blvd. adjacent to West Santa Clara Street and the Hotel De Anza. It is expected to be a Moxy hotel.

Preservation Action Council in February 2020 filed litigation seeking to block the hotel project, partly on grounds that San Jose city officials had failed to properly prepare and circulate an environmental impact report and that development of the new hotel highrise would crimp the historic aesthetics of the Hotel De Anza.

The group, which is also attempting to block the development of a game-changing tech campus at CityView Plaza just down the street, had argued that the city didn’t properly assess the environmental impacts of the hotel highrise.

The preservation council claimed that the city’s approval ran afoul of the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sunil Kulkarni disagreed with the preservationists and took the city’s side in the matter.

The judge stated in his tentative order that he had decided to deny the preservation group’s request that San Jose re-do its approval process for the hotel.

If built, the 19-story hotel would have 272 rooms and feature a rooftop restaurant, lounge, and gathering area. It would be several stories taller than the Hotel De Anza. The development site is a parking lot at present.

“The court tentatively denies the petition,” Judge Kulkarni wrote in a Nov. 3 decision. The judge said both the city and the Preservation Action Council could file further briefs with the court prior to a final decision.



  • a tall building in a city


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    C2K Architecture

    Downtown San Jose hotel tower with 272 rooms at the corner of North Almaden Boulevard and West Santa Clara Street, with the Hotel De Anza visible to the right, concept. The development of a downtown San Jose hotel next to the historic Hotel De Anza was approved legally by city officials, stated a judge who signaled he has decided to rule against preservations who had sought to block the project.





  • © Provided by Mercury News


    C2K Architecture

    Rooftop restaurant in a 19-story downtown San Jose hotel that would contain 272 rooms at the corner of North Almaden Boulevard and West Santa Clara Street, concept. The development of a downtown San Jose hotel next to the historic Hotel De Anza was approved legally by city officials, stated a judge who signaled he has decided to rule against preservations who had sought to block the project.

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  • a car parked on a city street lined with palm trees and a building


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    C2K Architecture, Inc.

    Street-level entrance of a 272-room, 19-story hotel in downtown San Jose, with a portion of the Hotel De Anza visible to the right, concept. The development of a downtown San Jose hotel next to the historic Hotel De Anza was approved legally by city officials, stated a judge who signaled he has decided to rule against preservations who had sought to block the project.



  • a view of a building


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    C2K Architecture, Inc.

    A top-floor restaurant for a 19-story, 272-room hotel in downtown San Jose. The development of a downtown San Jose hotel next to the historic Hotel De Anza was approved legally by city officials, stated a judge who signaled he has decided to rule against preservations who had sought to block the project.

Susan Brandt-Hawley, an attorney for Preservation Action Council San Jose, declined comment. However, she did say she was preparing a brief to respond to the judge’s tentative ruling.

The San Jose City Attorney’s Office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Despite ruling against the Preservation Action Council, the judge made it clear that he was aware of the importance of the 90-year-old Hotel De Anza.

“All sides agree that the Hotel De Anza has cultural and aesthetic significance for downtown San Jose,” Judge Kulkarni wrote in his order.

The judge, however, said that the preservationists had failed to make a convincing argument that the city of San Jose didn’t properly assess the environmental impacts of the proposed hotel and the effect the project would have on the Hotel De Anza, which was built in an art deco style.

At 10 stories in height, the Hotel De Anza would be considerably shorter than the proposed new hotel next door. Despite Hotel De Anza’s historic status and elegant appearance, the new lodging project wouldn’t harm its much older neighbor.

Amid the meltdown of the lodging industry due to widespread uncertainties unleashed by the coronavirus, it wasn’t immediately clear what might be a potential development and construction timeline for the proposed hotel.

“The project will not have a significant impact on the Hotel De Anza as a historical resource,” Judge Kulkarni wrote in the order. “The project will not have a significant impact on the aesthetics of the Hotel De Anza.”

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