San Jose Faces Two Big Decisions

San Jose’s movers and shakers are wrestling with two important questions.  First, should the San Jose convention center expansion project move forward?  And second, where should the new federal courthouse be built?

As reported on San Jose Inside last week, the city and state budget crisis has forced the city and its redevelopment agency to scale back the project from $300 million to $140 million.  And, the state’s plan to pull $75 million from the San Jose RDA creates an additional hurdle.  Councilmember Sam Liccardo has indicated that he is, “...not willing to do anything that puts the RDA’s future viability in peril.”

If the expansion goes forward, the City of San Jose will incur additional costs to move and house the many city employees who currently have their offices in the old MLK Library Building.  (Remember, the new City Hall was not built large enough to provide for the “consolidation” of city employees as prescribed by the ballot initiative approved by San Jose voters).

As for finding a location for San Jose’s new federal courthouse, three sites are under consideration.  The Sobrato Building, the Valley Title site, and property around the old city hall site (The “E” Lot).  The old City Hall site is of particular interest.  Judge Jeremy Fogel writes, “Our interest in the Civic Center site is based entirely on the fact that we cannot wait indefinitely.  If the practical issues with either of the two downtown sites currently under consideration-the Sobrato Building and the Valley Title block-could be overcome, the court’s reaction would be entirely positive.”

San Jose voters will remember that the new City Hall project was presented to voters with the understanding that the proceeds from the sale of the old city hall site would be used to offset the costs of the new City Hall.  If the federal government makes use of any of the city owned land at the old City Hall site, where will that money go?


  1. One item left in the RDA budget was $6million to Tom McE so he can build his Pike St. Market South in San Pedro Square, at a time when the four largest spaces in that same square remain vacant.

    Hhhmmm.  Great thinking—we have four large empty spaces. What do we do?  Solution—let’s build more spaces, with public $$!!

  2. After many years of taxpayers asking for cost benefit for tax dollars spending McEnerywhere Public Market got $6 million for $40,000 tax benefit and a few low income jobs, Ops forgot McEnery family’s high paid jobs

    – Way to go City Council – another great example of brilliant Council economic / political thinking that gave us a decade of budget crisis, city service and staff cuts, our people going to good jobs in other cities –  really shows public you are looking out for public good spending taxes to reward insiders

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