The Endangered 8: 

San José's Most Threatened Architectural and Cultural Landmarks of 2022

Former San José City Hall


801 N. First Street


Built 1958


Donald F. Haines


Neglect, Redevelopment

Once hailed as a modern marvel, this iconic symbol of the city's 20th-century suburban expansion was one of the first International Style civic buildings constructed on the West Coast. Vacant since 2005, it is now owned by the County of Santa Clara, which recently proposed to raze the building rather than incur continued modest maintenance costs. Adaptive reuse for housing, offices, or public services is a feasible and civically responsible alternative to the County’s shortsighted demolition plan, which proposes no new use for the site.


The County recently issued a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the project, which concluded that demolition would cost more than $5 million, while continued maintenance over the next 30 years would only cost $3.9 million. Given that the primary stated goal of the demolition is to reduce County maintenance expenses, PAC*SJ sees absolutely no justification in proceeding with this shortsighted and expensive demolition plan, especially without any clear reuse plan for the site. On June 16th, the Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission (HHC) agreed with PAC*SJ and recommended denial of a demolition permit. The full County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the plan later this fall. PAC*SJ is currently developing an alternative reuse plan and is seeking volunteers and subject-matter experts to assist in these efforts-- please email for more information.   

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