San Jose Hall Stalled

The long-running legal showdown between San Jose, Calif., and Santa Clara County over the construction of a House of Blues Concerts-run theatre – located on a county fairgrounds island within the city – shows no signs of breaking gridlock, despite meetings to resolve the dispute.

Financing is approved and plans are on the table for the county’s proposed 7,000-seat project, but a lawsuit filed by the city is holding it up, according to the county.

Santa Clara County should have obtained permission from San Jose to construct a non-governmental building on the county island per a 2001 agreement, according to the city.

While the two government entities duke it out, construction on the concert hall may be delayed through at least spring, pending a settlement that to date doesn’t look likely. In the meantime, HoB Concerts has assured the city it remains committed to the project, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

“The litigation by the city of San Jose continues to be problematic,” County Executive Peter Kutras Jr. told the board of supervisors at an October 18th meeting, the paper said. “Their tactic appears to be delay in hopes that the project will become infeasible.”

San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle denied that accusation and reportedly said the lawsuit is motivated by a disagreement over a land-use pact with the county.

City and county officials met in October to discuss their differences but emerged no closer to a settlement, the Mercury reported.

The county began its quest for a concert hall at the fairgrounds in 2000 as part of a larger revitalization effort. The board of supervisors approved the project in May 2004 and OK’d bond financing that assured no risk to taxpayer funds in July and August that year.

San Jose floated a proposal to build a similar concert hall in the downtown area but never produced feasible financing or architectural plans to compete with the county’s endeavors.

In a memo to the county board of supervisors, Special Projects Director Patrick Love noted that construction material costs have not risen as quickly as expected and “the theatre project remains viable for at least several more months in its current size and scope of 7,000 seats and approximately $66 million,” the Mercury reported.