Vacant High-Rise Proves Perfect Bearing for Emergency Routes
An agreement was reached early Thursday morning when airport officials met with several downtown representatives to hammer out a deal to protect building heights while allowing for the safest emergency route over the city’s center; their solution: aim at the Sobrato building.
The long-suffering, vacant high-rise next to the convention center on Almaden Blvd. is the logical answer to the vexing problem of development profits vs. human safety. It provides a good, conspicuous target while minimizing the potential risk of death during a worst-case emergency takeoff scenario.
“We ran some cost-benefit analyses that weighed the potential cost of civil lawsuits for a plane crash into a full-height building against the lost revenue from shorter buildings,” said Paul Krutko, Director of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development. “And, not surprisingly, we came up with the same conclusions as the Ford Motor Company did on their 1973 Pinto gas tank recall: human life is cheaper than our downtown full-service lease rates.”
The compromise was lauded by several downtown high-rise condo developers, who vow to move forward with their plans, but are asking for financial subsidies for the overhead oxygen masks required on the chance that the building loses cabin pressure.