SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose plans to build its own iconic landmark beginning in 2021 that is expected to attract people from all over the world.

“We saw this void and we want to build something beautiful,” said San Jose Light Tower Corporation Executive Director Steve Borkenhagen.

The non-profit organization was given the green light by the San Jose city council Tuesday night to hold an international competition to design a landmark for Arena Green. The park is steps from the SAP Center, the Diridon Station and Google’s potential mega-campus.

San Jose Light Tower location (CBS)

“Already in the last few days, I’ve gotten contact from Berlin, Moscow, Australia, all around the United States and we haven’t even begun to promote yet,” said Borkenhagen. He said artists can begin sending their submissions next month, and the decision on the winner will happen next year.

One resident cautioned the city council in a letter to be careful about what goes into Arena Green. The resident used the sculpture of a serpent at Plaza de Cesar Chavez as an example; over the years, the statue has been criticized as looking more like a pile of dog feces.

But Borkenhagen said the landmark will be able to compete on the world stage and its design won’t be obsolete in a few years.

“We want something like the Roman Coliseum or the Eiffel Tower that hundreds of years from now is still relevant, and that somehow captures the human spirit,” he said.

But the landmark location has been met with criticism. Letters of opposition poured into the city that said the increase in foot traffic would harm the wildlife at the park, as well as the Guadalupe River and Los Gatos Creek, which run through it.

“We intend to be completely responsible in dealing with these sensitive rivers that run through the park,” said Borkenhagen.

As for how much it will cost, he said there is no ceiling. He believes once a design is chosen it will be so grand that people will donate to the non-profit to see it become reality.

To visit the web site of the non-profit behind the future landmark, visit this link:

Comments (2)
  1. Jona Denz-Hamilton says:

    I can’t wait to see the ideas–I have some myself!