Judge backs downtown San Jose hotel project

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.

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

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 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 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.

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.

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