West Coast Aesthetics, a boutique gym owned by trainer Tory Woodward, opened April 22, 2017 in a 1903 building on North Third Street that once housed the Sperry Flour Co. (Sal Pizarro/Staff)
I’ve gotten on my stump plenty of times about preserving historic buildings in San Jose, so it makes sense to me to applaud when someone gets it right. There are two examples of that downtown within steps of each other on North Third Street: The Hotel Clariana and the new boutique gym West Coast Aesthetics.
The Hotel Clariana is the latest occupant of 100 E. Santa Clara St. in<br />downtown San Jose, a historic structure built around 1912 that was<br />originally the home of the YMCA. (Sal Pizarro/Staff)
The Hotel Clariana, which has been under construction for more than two years and has been dangling an “opening soon” sign for months, occupies an ornate building on the corner of East Santa Clara Street that began its life around 1912 as the YMCA of San Jose. Most recently, the Redevelopment Agency leased it as a start-up incubator called the Entrepreneur Center, and it provided office space for various other entities over the years.
Building owner RSTP Investments began converting the building to a hotel shortly thereafter. The room photos on the hotel’s website display a nod toward the building’s vintage look. Everything’s modern — the bathrooms didn’t even exist — but it has the retro look befitting the building.
West Coast Aesthetics (better known as WESTCA), meanwhile, is a gym opened by personal trainer Tory Woodward in the old Sperry Flour building. The structure dates to 1903 and was designed by Frank Delos Wolfe. Its shapely facade sets it apart from just about any other building downtown, and it was a perfect home of community art gallery Works/San Jose for years. More recently, it had been re-christened Sperry Station, housing San Jose Rock Shop, the Seeing Things Art Gallery, a barber shop and other pop-up stores.
The renovation — I noticed signs from Jim Salata‘s historically sensitive Garden City Construction there from early on — modernized the doors and windows while maintaining the building’s overall storefront look.
And now two downtown buildings have new leases on life without sacrificing their historic character.
DERBY PARTY RACES TO WILLOW GLEN: The San Jose Derby — the Robby Paine Foundation’s third annual fundraiser — has a new location this year, moving from downtown San Jose to Willow Glen. The May 6 Kentucky Derby party is happening in what they’re calling Mulcahy Grounds — aka, the parking lot behind the Garden Theater on Lincoln Avenue.
Despite the new locale, I’m assured there will still be great food, drinks and oh so many fabulous hats. There’ll be competitions for best hat (ladies only, sorry guys) and best outfit. And I’ve heard there’ll be a horse race on TV, too.
Scott Paine founded the event in 2015 to honor the memory of his son, Robby, who died at age 25. Proceeds benefit the Willow Glen Foundation, Young Life’s Woodleaf Camp and a scholarship fund at Chico State University. Tickets start at $150 and are on sale only through Wednesday at www.sanjosederby.com.
LINDA LESTER BOOSTS UNITY CARE: When it comes to supporting good causes in Silicon Valley, Linda Lester has no problem making a big impact. Representing one of the oldest and most philanthropic fruit-growing families in the Santa Clara Valley, Lester paid a visit this month to Unity Care’s residential treatment home for teen foster girls in San Jose — and she brought along a big check.
Lester presented a $50,000 donation to Unity Care CEO Andre Chapman, representing her lead sponsorship of the nonprofit’s Youth Live! fundraising gala, which is taking place May 6 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. It’s an entertaining evening that includes teenage musicians and singers as well as a fashion show.
Tickets are still available for $175 at www.youth-live.com, but registration closes May 1, so get ’em while you can.
POWERFUL VOICES: Jeanne Falk Adams, former director of the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park and daughter-in-law of the famed nature photographer, will present the Lunchtime Lecture at the San Jose Museum of Art on May 1. Adam organized the museum’s current photographic exhibition, “Fragile Waters,” out of concern for our waterways. She’ll talk about the work and conservation activism of Ansel Adams, Ernest Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly at the noon event, which is free with museum admission.
And Maxine Hong Kingston will be the keynote reader at San Jose State’s Legacy of Poetry Day Festival on Wednesday at the Hammer Theatre Center. Kingston is best known for her iconic work, “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts,” and she’ll take the stage at 7 p.m. The festival, which kicks off Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, opens with poetry readings in the Hammer lobby starting at 5 p.m.
TALES FROM COMIC CON: Attendance numbers are in from last weekend’s Silicon Valley Comic Con are in. The 65,000 attendees are a bit lower than the early projections, but that’s still quite a draw for what turned out to be an amazingly active weekend in San Jose. But numbers aren’t everything; the second annual event also produced some lifelong memories.
Adam Savage, left, with Jamie Ducato and Caleb Levine at Silicon Valley<br />Comic Con in downtown San Jose on Sunday, April 23, 2017. (Photo courtesy<br />Erik Levine)
turned some heads — including cosplay expert and former “Mythbusters” host Adam Savage — when they arrived in clothes and makeup that made them look like they were in black-and-white.
And Brian Adams, vice president of advancement at Bellarmine College Prep, got to recreate a moment a quarter-century after the fact. Back when he was working for KICU-TV, Adams took his sons, Nicholas and Jeffrey, to meet Bob McGrath of “Sesame Street” fame, and McGrath posed for a photo with them. Flash forward some 27 years, and Adams bought a photo op with McGrath, who was a guest at Silicon Valley Comic Con, and the actor once again posed with the two Adams boys, now grown men.