Renovation of historic Bank of Italy tower begins in downtown San José
SAN JOSE – A major upgrade to the historic Bank of Italy tower in downtown San José is expected to begin in a few weeks and will include a potentially eye-catching exterior staircase.
Westbank, a leading development powerhouse, has partnered with local developer Gary Dillabough to launch a high-profile business that would usher in a dramatic transformation of downtown San Jose, and the Bank of Italy tower is the ‘one of the earliest efforts of the effort.
“We’re really excited about this,” said Andrew Jacobson, Westbank’s initiative development manager in San Jose. “This Bank of Italy building is so iconic.”
A top-to-bottom renovation of the tower at 12 S. First St. will transform it into a skyscraper that will include offices, retail, restaurants and a culinary culture club.
“The goal is to bring the building back to life,” Jacobson said Monday. “What is standing there is beautiful.”
Over the next few weeks, structural improvements will be undertaken on the Bank of Italy tower, which is perched at a key intersection and a short walk from what is expected to be the entrance to a future downtown BART station. of San Jose.
Clean-up work inside the tower has been going on for some time. This included getting one of the elevators fully functional.
Now, Westbank-Dillabough is poised to use the building permits it got for most of the work to restore the building to its former glory – and add some striking new features.
Perhaps the most dazzling new exterior feature will be a curved staircase that will be attached to the south side of the tower next to Fountain Alley, which is set to become a bustling dining and entertainment hub for years to come.
“It will take a few months to start going up the stairs,” Jacobson said. “We have a lot of work to do off Fountain Alley and in the basement to get the stair tower up.”
Some work will be done on the sections of the ground floor facing South First Street and East Santa Clara Street.
“We will be installing new windows and new entrances,” said Jacobson.
In a vision booklet Westbank distributed to realtors, the developer clearly expresses his enthusiasm for the potential of the old tower.
“The Bank of Italy is one of the most iconic buildings in California,” Westbank said in the document. “A designated historic building, the interior has the potential to become an exciting conversion and the city’s next unique destination. “
Jacobson traveled to downtown San Jose last week to lay the final groundwork with Urban Community of Dillabough for the start of the tower renovation.
“The Bank of Italy completely catches your attention,” said Jacobson. “It’s going to be exciting to bring the tower back to life and make it the focal point of San José. It sets the stage for everything we do, to bring downtown life and dynamism back to life. “