SAN JOSE (KPIX) – A new high-rise residential complex in San Jose breaks the mold of how developments can forge the future while still preserving the past.

“This means that historical architecture can stand side by side with the new. It’s not an either-or proposition, ”said Ben Leech of the San Jose Preservation Action Council.

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The development will take over the site of a mid-century diner on 2nd Street and San Salvador Street. The building was first a sambo pancake house, then a Chinese restaurant called Bo Town.
The iconic zigzag roofline and Starlight lighting fixtures are a couple of references to a unique architectural style.

“Buildings like this are called googie, it’s a mid-century design that emphasized the quirkiness, a kind of space age materials, zigzag, and you think the Jetson era is googie,” Leech said.

The building is not an official historic site and should be demolished to make way for a 29-story building
Residential high-rise. But then the developer, West Bank from Canada, came back with the idea of ​​saving it – so to speak.

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“Your plan is to remove the building but then replace it in kind. So at the end of the
Project, it is still what you see here. “

Rebuilt from scratch, the new building will also be a restaurant and the client is even planning to save the free-standing sign in front of the house. The move is being praised, not just by conservationists.

“The fact that our developers are really thinking about what it means to preserve history while making room for the future is really impressive,” said Autumn Young of the San Jose Downtown Association.

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The new skyscraper will also add to the mix of old and new on South First Street, which is already seeing a strong new influx of people, businesses and energy after the pandemic.