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The Endangered List

Montgomery Hotel
Photograph courtesy of Bill Wulf

Montgomery Hotel
211 S. First St., San Jose
Until the Sainte Claire was built, the Montgomery Hotel was San Jose's finest. It was the first modern hotel with fireproof construction, electric fixtures and private baths. Designed by T.S. Montgomery's chief architect, William Binder, it was built with a roof garden in the center to allow sunlight to reach every room. After the Sainte Claire and the De Anza opened and siphoned off the natty and the ultra-rich, the Montgomery became a popular destination for families. Six years ago the city-- via the Redevelopment Agency--had grand plans to restore the historic Montgomery. Two months ago, the city council voted to name the hotel a city historic landmark. But at the same meeting, they gave the green light to the Fairmont Hotel (and $1.5 million guarantee) to begin architectural and engineering work on a $55 million, 14-story, 260-room tower, to be located on the Montgomery's site. Under the terms of the deal the council would sell the property to the Fairmont for $4 million, payable when and if the Fairmont's new project yields suitable profits. Mayor Susan Hammer argues that it would be "economically unviable" for the city to restore the Montgomery and has aggressively promoted the Fairmont expansion and Montgomery demolition, despite the protests of historians and preservationists.

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From the July 2-9, 1997 issue of Metro.

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