San José City Council approves $1.8 million to renovate downtown hotel into homeless housing

KRON 4 March 15, 2016

SAN JOSE (BCN) — Dozens of units are expected to be available by the end of the year at an empty downtown San José hotel that will be renovated for the homeless.

“The vision is that these individuals will find long-term housing solutions,” Housing Director Jacky Morales-Ferrand said during today’s City Council meeting.

By a unanimous vote, the council approved dedicating $1.8 million to rehabilitate the Plaza Hotel at 96. S. Almaden Blvd. into 49 single rooms that will be available for up to five years.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring and people are expected to start moving in by the fall or early winter, according to the housing department.

The people will temporarily stay at the facility while they find long-term or permanent housing, Morales-Ferrand said.

In December the city acquired the building, which was owned by Santa Clara County, and the Oversight Board of the Redevelopment Agency approved the sale, according to Morales-Ferrand.

The county and JP Morgan have a lien on the hotel, but it is expected to be removed under a proposed agreement once the property is sold to the city, according to a March 8 memo from Morales-Ferrand.

The agreement needs to be approved by the oversight board and the city is expected to acquire the building in May, according to the memo.

Abode Services will oversee the facility’s construction and management on behalf of the city, Morales-Ferrand said.

Jon White, director of property and assets at Abode Services, said most projects take three to five years before operations begin, but the Plaza Hotel rehabilitation will allow them to have units available in a matter of months.

“We can rehabilitate this facility and open it up and temporarily house the many homeless individuals we have in our city, specifically our downtown core,” said City Councilman Raul Peralez, whose district includes the hotel.

Mayor Sam Liccardo called the hotel “a sight for sore eyes” and said the rehabilitation project will help the city improve its housing stock.”

“We hope this will be successful and a model for many other ventures to come,” Liccardo said.