Judge Clears Way In San Jose

The legal battle to build a concert hall in San Jose, Calif., appears to be winding to an end.

A judge’s ruling rejected all five of the city’s claims in a 2004 lawsuit saying Santa Clara County’s proposed House of Blues Concerts-operated theatre required city approval and a land-use agreement.

The ruling also means the county could seek as much as $30 million in damages from the city to compensate for more than two years’ worth of legal delays in starting construction on what was, when approved in 2004, a $57 million project.

The proposed hall would be built on a county island on fairgrounds land within San Jose city limits. The suit had been moved to a neighboring San Mateo County court in order to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest, and has taken many twists and turns since its filing.

That appears to be over, unless San Jose chooses to appeal. At press time, that decision had not been made.

“The court decided that the lawsuit they brought was absolutely without merit,” Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel told the San Jose Mercury News.

City officials have long wanted to build a music hall downtown, likely in partnership with the San Jose Sharks hockey team that owns the HP Pavilion, but neither a financing plan nor architectural design exists for one.

San Jose officials were to discuss an appeal during a closed session February 28th. If they decide to forego the appeal, it would clear the way for the Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors to approve seeking bond financing for the $57 million, 7,000-seat project, Ravel told the newspaper.

County officials agreed in 2000 to enter into a lease with House of Blues Concerts to build the theatre, and a financing plan was approved by the supes about four years later. Only then did the city object to Santa Clara’s fairgrounds plan.

The city’s lawsuit and a countersuit by the county were scheduled for trial March 6th.

The judge had not ruled at press time on San Jose’s motion to dismiss Santa Clara’s cross-complaint against the city. But, according to the San Jose Business Journal, there “is little left for the city to win.”