South Bay developer offers to cover costs of moving historic building, looking for buyer with a big lot

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A South Bay developer is making quite the offer. If you purchase a historic Downtown San Jose apartment building and can provide a vacant lot for the structure, the company will cover moving costs.

Built in 1910, the historic, four-unit Pallesen Apartment building still stands two-stories tall at South First and East Reed Streets.

The Downtown San Jose area surrounding the lot is booming with development.

"We're being crammed in, and this doesn't belong here," Jim Salata told ABC7 News. "It hasn't belonged here for a long time. And to move it someplace else in a better context is the right way to do it."

Salata said he took ownership of the building in 1997. He continues to run Garden City Construction from the site.

"This place was a complete wreck when we got here," he explained. "The back porch was rotted off and falling down and it was just a mess."

Developers, KT Urban want to put a 27-story mixed-use, residential high-rise tower on the lot.

The proposed project site has two existing buildings identified on the City's Historic Resources Inventory-- the Pallesen Apartments Building and the Pallesen Building.

A memorandum from the City's Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement to the Historic Landmarks Commission explained Wolfe & McKenzie, a well-known local architecture firm in the early 1900s, designed the two-story, 16-room residential building.

The property was owned by Chris Pallesen, the superintendent of the Hubbard & Carmichael lumber mill.

The Pallesen family lived in one of the apartment building's four units, and rented the other three. The memorandum goes on to explain the building is eligible for the National Register and State Register.

According to the memorandum, the brick Pallesen Building was built in 1938 by Chris and Lillie M. Pallesen.

The memo read, "The Art Deco building housed the Electric Battery Station between 1939 and 1941, auto repair establishment owned by George Miho in the 1940s, and a Sears & Roebuck warehouse in 1949."

Before KT Urban brings in the bulldozers, the company is offering to sell the Mission Revival style structure and cover moving costs.

"They're just going to pick it up, lift it and move it for free," Rick Jensen explained.

However, it won't be so easy. Jensen is with the San Jose Downtown Association. He said his office is working with KT Urban to get the word out.

The outside-the-box offer is restricted to the downtown area, because it can't fit under 280 within removing its roof.

So far, no luck on the unique pitch.

"Somebody has to have the land, which is not cheap in this area," Jensen explained. "And somebody will need to do the foundation and the infrastructure- the water and sewer- to put it in."

It's necessary work to keep the historic 119-year-old Pallesen Apartments in Downtown San Jose.

"We've lost blocks and blocks to redevelopment," Salata said. "So, to have a historic building like this, a beautiful piece of architecture when there's not too many, it's very important."

Jensen says KT Urban is the biggest developer of residential downtown. The company's proposal for that 27-story tower still needs city approval.
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