The Endangered 8: 2023
San José's Most Threatened Architectural and Cultural Landmarks
First Church of Christ, Scientist
43 E. St. James Street
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2023:
After being concealed for five years behind shredded tarps and scaffolding, First Chirsh of Christ Scientist has finally reemerged into public view following Garden City Construction's pro-bono site cleanup in August. Still, the property remains critically endangered five years after a long-promised restoration was abandoned by beleaguered international developer Z&L Properties. The City has been frustratingly slow to enforce multiple code violations, but is beginning to explore options to repossess the Willis Polk-designed Neoclassical masterpiece in order to facilitate its desperately-needed rehabilitation. Without a new owner stepping forward, the property remains vulnerable to vandalism, arson, and the elements, and is hampering reinvestment efforts in the surrounding St. James Square Historic District.
Mercury News, "San Jose officials eye fine for firm that rid church of 'trash bag' wrap," Sept. 18, 2023
KPIX CBS News, “Efforts underway to refurbish long abandoned San Jose church,” Sept. 5, 2023
San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose landmark in danger of further deterioration," Sept. 1, 2023
Mercury News, “Historic San Jose church comes into view after eyesore tarp is removed,” Aug. 29, 2023
KPIX CBS News, “San Jose's abandoned ‘Trash Bag Church’ finally gets tarps and scaffolding removed,” Aug. 28, 2023
Bay City News, “Higher Fines For Negligent Property Owners Proposed In San Jose,” Aug. 25, 2023
KRON 4, “San Jose mayor takes aim at negligent building owners,” Aug 25, 2023
Silicon Valley Business Journal, “San Jose city officials look to increase fines for neglected properties, cite blighted downtown church,” Aug. 25, 2023
KTVU Fox 2, “San Jose mayor seeks to increase fines for owners of blighted properties,” Aug. 24, 2023
Mercury News, “Nearly $100,000 in fines still isn’t pushing this San Jose ‘trash bag church’ owner to fix downtown eyesore,” Aug. 24, 2023
San Jose Spotlight, “San Jose weighs upping fines for neglected properties,” Aug. 24, 2023
San Jose Spotlight, "Delapidated San Jose church repairs put on hold," June 20, 2023
Mercury News, "San Jose staff crafts solution to protect blighted old historic church," June 15, 2023
Learn More and Take Action!
Read PAC*SJ's 1991 rehabilition/adaptive reuse study.
Read the latest staff memorandum (6/8/2023) outlining the City's current abatement and enforcement options for the property.
Contact your City Council member to urge support of the memoradum released on 8/24 by Mayor Matt Mahan and Councilmembers Torres, Kamei and Foley proposing increased fines on negligent owners of landmark properties and directing City staff to explore repurchase of the church.
If you see something, say something! Report suspected code violations or suspicious activities to the City of San Jose.