Longtime San Jose radio station set to be demolished
This building at 750 Story Road once housed legendary San Jose radio stations KLIV and KRTY. It's set to be demolished. Photo by Joseph Geha.

    A building that once housed legendary San Jose radio stations KLIV and KRTY is set to be demolished and replaced with a warehouse.

    City planning officials greenlighted a proposal during a hearing on Wednesday from Scottsdale-based developer GO Industrial to demolish the 10,552 square-foot building at 750 Story Road in the city’s Little Saigon district.

    Plans call for construction of an industrial building, with 65,126 square feet of warehouse space and 5,867 square feet of office space on the roughly 3.6-acre site.

    This digital rendering shows what a warehouse building could look like when complete at 750 Story Road in San Jose. Image courtesy of San Jose.

    Robert Guerena, managing partner of GO Industrial, told San José Spotlight that real estate investment giant Clarion Partners, which is behind the current development plan, bought the property last year. New York-based Clarion is a private equity firm with more than $80 billion in assets, according to its website, and one of the largest real estate management groups in North America.

    Several residents spoke against the project at the hearing, and shared concerns the warehouse would become an Amazon operation and bring more traffic and safety risks to an already congested, dangerous road.

    However, Preston Pruett, representing the developer, said the project doesn’t have a tenant yet and it has no connection to Amazon.

    Guerena told San José Spotlight the project is being designed to attract high-quality tech manufacturing and distribution tenants.

    The area’s land use designation and zoning allows for industrial and commercial properties, city staff said, and the project proposal complies with city building guidelines. The existing building’s current tenants include a private COVID-19 testing facility.

    City reports said there will not be a significant impact on traffic as a result of the new project, but noted that stretch of Story Road-Keyes Street is an area with a long history of congestion and crashes. The San Jose City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to secure the final funding needed to make a range of safety improvements for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers along a 2.3-mile stretch of the Story-Keyes corridor from Third Street to King Road. The area is one of 17 most dangerous corridors in San Jose, officials said.

    In addition to traffic and safety concerns, one man named Orlando called in to say the building is a landmark because of its affiliation with local radio. He did not provide a last name. The building does not have landmark or historical status in the city.

    The building was put up in the late 1980s to replace a 1940s-era building on the same spot. It served as a home for 1590 KLIV, an AM station that ran for more than seven decades in Silicon Valley beginning in the mid-1940s, and becoming a Top 40 music station in the early 1960s.

    Empire Broadcasting, headed up by San Jose community stalwart Bob Kieve, purchased the property in 1967. After cycling through other music formats, the station eventually became a local news outlet from 1991 to 2016. It later transitioned to classic country music, before being shut down entirely in 2019 when Kieve sold the building.

    Former KLIV and KRTY owner Bob Kieve during an airing on the radio. Photo courtesy of Lenoir Kieve.

    Kieve, a huge supporter of San Jose and a proponent of civic engagement and the arts who previously served on the speech writing team for President Dwight Eisenhower, died in 2020 at the age of 98.

    The building also housed KRTY, an iconic country music station that operated out of a different building, after relocating in 2019. KRTY now streams online only, and its spectrum, 95.3 FM, was sold to Educational Media Foundation, a nonprofit Christian media organization, according to Nate Deaton, general manager of KRTY.

    Deaton told San José Spotlight the building at 750 Story Road has seen a lot of Silicon Valley history, as KLIV News Radio reported on its growth. The building has also seen a lot of music history.

    “There are a lot of great memories in that building, that’s for sure. From a KRTY and country music standpoint, so many of the big artists of the day played in that conference room,” Deaton said.

    Deaton worked in the building for 25 years and said country artists often put on small shows for station staff when they were in the area touring.

    “You go back to Brad Paisley, Dixie Chicks, to Lady Antebellum, you name it. Anybody who’s anybody in the last 25 years, played that conference room,” he said.

    Guerena said demolition of the building could begin this fall, though an exact timeline isn’t clear yet. Construction of the warehouse could take about a year once started, he said.

    Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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