SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Time is running out for an outdated State of California building in downtown San Jose.
The Alfred Alquist building was opened in 1983 and has been criticized for being uninviting and wasting space.
“It looks uninviting because it really is from the external perspective,” said San Jose Assemblymember Ash Kalra. “When you’re inside the offices, we can hear the offices on the other side of the wall.”
Kalra said the design wastes space with offices in clusters around shady concrete patios that no one really uses.
“It was designed at a time when land was cheap,” he said.
Kalra and State Senator Jim Beall are working on a plan for the state to relinquish the building, move state offices to newer, nearby buildings, and eventually sell the property to San Jose State University for new dorms.
“There’s a great opportunity to meet university goals, and the state and city goals of building more affordable housing for students, and or faculty,” Kalra said.
In March, students protested on campus, demanding more housing after a state study found that 13 percent of SJSU students have experienced being homeless in the past year.
“I slept outside, I slept on bus stops, I slept here on campus on benches,” said Saline Chandler, who is also a member of the Homeless Student Alliance.
Students have been asking for safe parking spots in a campus garage as a last resort.
A sale or transfer of a building to San Jose State has happened before when the city turned over the Hammer Theatre to the university.
Both buildings are side-by-side on the Paseo de San Antonio, half a block from campus.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for San Jose State to continue to expand their campus,” Kalra said.
Kalra and Beall have already been in discussions with the university about the idea.
University officials were not available for comment, but they are said to be “very interested” in the proposal.