SAN JOSE — The site of the former Lido night club in downtown San Jose is headed for a major facelift that would preserve the property’s key historic elements and add offices, retail, a restaurant and a new fountain, according to preliminary documents on file with city officials.
Fountain Alley Building is the working title for the project that would rise on South First Street in downtown San Jose and bring a mix of office, retail and dining spaces to the site, which is next to another historic building, the Bank of Italy office tower.
The six-story development is expected to total at least 50,000 square feet, according to planning documents and project builders.
“The new building will be predominantly retail and restaurant on the ground level and office on levels two through six,” according to public documents submitted by the developers and Studio Current, which has designed the project.
he project has emerged as a joint effort by two San Jose-based real estate and investment companies: Urban Catalyst, headed by developer Erik Hayden, and Urban Community, led by developer Gary Dillabough.
“The corner of the building at South First and Fountain Alley will have a water fountain to identify it as the Fountain Alley Building,” stated the documents on file with the city.
The 36 S. First St. structure is officially known as the Knox Goodrich Building and was constructed by Sarah Knox-Goodrich in 1889, according to a marker outside the building that described it as a “charming commercial structure.”
She was “a strong advocate of women’s rights and organized San Jose’s first Woman Suffrage Association in 1869,” the marker states. Her first husband, William Knox, was co-founder of San Jose’s first bank. Her second husband, Levi Goodrich, was the architect of old county courthouses in San Jose, Monterey and San Diego.
The developers intend to upgrade and preserve the historic Knox Goodrich building so it can become the primary lobby entrance for the new office building, according to the planning documents.
“Special care will be given to maintain the entire 1889 building and the historic facade while renovating the entry lobby,” the developers said in the city files.
Dillabough has begun wide-ranging renovations and revivals of multiple historic or older buildings in downtown San Jose, notably the Bank of Italy office tower.
The renovation of the old Lido Club property is made possible, in part, because it’s located in an opportunity zone. In numerous communities in the United States, opportunity zones have been enabled by President Donald Trump’s tax-cut initiative.
Urban Catalyst, Hayden’s firm, was formed to create an opportunity fund that would provide development expertise and cash for selected properties in Bay Area districts that have been designated as opportunity zones. Large sections of downtown San Jose, as well as parts of Oakland and San Francisco, are in opportunity zones.
Potentially the first project in the San Jose opportunity zone would be the redevelopment of the Lido Club site.
“This is a great location for a new development,” Dillabough said in an interview earlier this year to discuss the Lido site’s redevelopment. “Our goal is to activate and revitalize that entire block.”
A growing number of developers and investors have become intrigued by downtown San Jose in the wake of plans by tech titans such as Google and Adobe to create big new expansions in the urban heart of the Bay Area’s largest city.
Google has proposed a transit-oriented community of office buildings, homes, shops and restaurants near the Diridon train station where 25,000 could work, including 15,000 to 20,000 of the search giant’s employees.
Adobe intends to dramatically expand its downtown San Jose headquarters campus of three office high rises by building a fourth office tower on an adjacent lot where 4,000 of the cloud service giant’s employees would work.
“If you look at downtown San Jose, why wouldn’t you develop here,” Hayden said in a prior interview. “Downtown San Jose is poised to take the next leap forward.”