A new precedent in design for downtown San Jose, a cantilevered hotel tower

Today, Nate from the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported a hotel proposal that sets a new precedent for architecture and design in downtown San Jose, a cantilevered building. The developers Khanna Enterprises, owners of the former Hotel Montgomery now the Sheraton Four Points, are proposing to add a new 21 story 280 room cantilevered hotel tower above the existing 6 story historic structure.

This proposal is striking with a proposed modern slim glass tower directly abutting the old building, and then jetting out on the seventh story to lean over its older neighbor. With an all glass wall and modern rooftop amenities, such as a pool on the roof, this hotel design will surpass the nearby Marriott Hotel, which won The Jim Fox Golden Nail Award for Design Excellence in 2011. The proposal is reminiscent of Parkview Towers. Though not cantilevered, Parkview Towers also combines new residential towers with the historic First Christ Church, Scientist structure.

TCA Architects was the firm that created these initial renderings. TCA’s principals have an extensive hospitality portfolio while at previous firms, and they’re projects include: the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, The Intercontinental Hotel, San Francisco, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin, Ireland to name a few. The portfolio of design work boast both modern, and historic projects, including renovations and new buildings. This is the caliber of architect and design, that the people of downtown thirst for and demand. It sets the bar higher, and it pushes the envelope of what is possible, not just the bottom line.

This project isn’t without challenges. First and foremost is whether it will clear historic guidelines. As was the case with Parkview Towers, the height of the proposed tower is three times that of the historic structure. Parkview Towers still made it through the city and was approved, but not without significant design changes.  The difference in this proposal, is that it doesn’t the site doesn’t sit within a historic district, so the historic guidelines aren’t as stringent. But the city may not be as keen to push it through as they would a residential highrise supplying much need housing units.  How will the design compliment and enhance the existing historic structure, and how will the two structures interface?

Another challenge is how will the design incorporate parking? Will parking be only underground(which seems likely based on the first renderings)? Will the project be under parked, with the developers focusing on the close proximity to transit directly across the street?

With the AC Hotel nearing completion, and other mixed-use projects like Museum Place proposing hotel rooms, it seems that there is still demand in downtown for a hotel project of this size and scope. Khanna Enterprises should be applauded for this ambitious proposal. Not only are they filling a market need, they are creating a new bar for engineering and design in downtown San Jose.

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