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Historic San Jose Apartment Building Set to Be Moved Sunday

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- A 111-year-old apartment building in downtown San Jose, which has now survived two pandemics, is set to get a new address on Sunday.

"It's just such a cool, old structure," said Daniel Garcia who lives near the building. "It's great that they're keeping this. It's got nice, old bones and that the community came together to raise funds for it is pretty awesome."

The four-unit Pallesen apartment building, which currently sits at 14 E. Reed St., will be moved less than a quarter mile away to 4th and Reed. Streets on Sunday between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The move will make way for a mixed-use commercial and 336-residential-unit high-rise.

The move might not have happened had it not been for a community-wide effort to preserve it. Ben Leech, the executive director for Preservation Action Council of San Jose, said the original plan to move the building fell apart when the pandemic hit.

"No one gave up and the stars aligned," said Leech. "To see it go to the landfill, nobody really thought they could stomach that."

Leech said the former owner and current developer, KT Urban and Scape San Jose LLC donated the building to Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley, which will later rehabilitate the apartments and sell them for less than half the market value to low-income families.

City leaders essentially donated the land that the building will soon rest on; Habitat for Humanity was charged $1.

Lastly, community members donated around $265,000 to fund the building's move.

"We're really excited to see this roll down the street Sunday," Leech said. "I have actually never seen a structure move quite like this."

The Garcia family has been watching the process unfold over the past year.

"They'll probably shut down this whole street, take it down the middle, back it in," Garcia said. "It'll be fun."

Residents, especially those living on Reed or nearby, will get a front-row seat to this weekend's big move.

"That's so weird, you never see that every day," said San Jose resident Rachelle Figueroa. "I'll definitely be coming down."

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