San Jose Talks Stall

The ongoing legal battle to build a House of Blues-run concert hall in San Jose, Calif., has hit another snag despite a recent judge’s ruling that appeared to move the project forward.

Negotiations between Santa Clara County and the city failed to settle the two parties’ differences about building the 7,000-seat venue at the County Fairgrounds. The parties were scheduled for trial in San Mateo Superior Court March 27th, according to the San Jose Business Journal.

The county could seek about $40 million in damages to compensate for more than two years of delays in breaking ground on what was to be a $57 million project. A judge’s ruling in February rejected all five of the city’s claims in a 2004 lawsuit that said Santa Clara County’s proposed theatre required city approval and a land-use agreement.

The court was expected to require both sides to try to iron out their differences before heading to trial, but County Counsel Ann Ravel reportedly said she was disappointed with the city’s response to the county’s latest settlement offer.

City Attorney Rick Doyle said that despite the impasse, the city was still open to negotiations, the Journal said.

The debate centers on the construction of the proposed hall on a county island on fairgrounds land within San Jose city limits. The legal proceedings were moved to nearby San Mateo County court to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest.

San Jose city officials have wanted to build a concert hall downtown, possibly in partnership with the San Jose Sharks hockey team that owns the HP Pavilion, but neither an architectural design nor a financing plan has come to light.

County officials agreed in 2000 to enter into a lease with House of Blues Concerts to build the facility, and a financing plan was approved by county supervisors about four years later. It wasn’t until that time that city officials lodged their objection to the plan.