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HISTORIC BAKER RANCH IN ALMADEN MARKED FOR SALE, ADJACENT TO ABANDONED PARK & RIDE LOT

THE PROPERTY DESIGNATED AS THE “BAKER RANCH BUILDINGS” BY THE CITY OF SAN JOSE HISTORIC RESOURCES INVENTORY HAS A LARGE “FOR SALE” SIGN AT ITS FRONT LOT, EVEN THOUGH IT’S CURRENTLY OCCUPIED FOR RESIDENTIAL USE.

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Here at 6468 Almaden Road, cornered by Timbercrest Drive, a historic old house can be partly seen from behind a roadside barrier wall, where it’s also set-back from an old and abandoned Valley Transit Authority (VTA) Park-and-Ride lot.   These streets, buildings, and lots are also fronted by Almaden Expressway and Camden Avenue; but, they have relative obscurity and off-the-path access.  Hence, they are overlooked by many people who drive north and southbound along the expressway, south of Camden Avenue to the Crown Boulevard (which goes out to the Almaden Country-Club and its clubhouse).

Behind the barrier wall it’s difficult to see, other than a two-story house roofline and a barn-like tower; but, beyond that is a big ranch house and other buildings, which is in addition to its fairly large-sized parcel.

To this day, although it’s designated as a “City Landmark Site/Structure,” the parcel for the Baker Ranch is simply within the zoning of “R-1-8 Residence District (8DU/Acre).”

Adjacent to this lot and across the street is the abandoned VTA Park-and-Ride lot that has been overlooked for years.  It never was used quite appropriately for that vision as so designated from a time unknown.  This parking lot is now totally enclosed behind a cyclone fence, surrounded by Almaden Road/Expressway, Camden Avenue, and Timbercrest Drive.  It seems to serve no purpose, other than to be in idle consideration.

The Baker Ranch parcel also rests behind cyclone fencing, opposite Timbercrest Drive, making for what’s currently an expansive, blighted and largely un-used area.  This may be a historic ranch house area, but the buildings do not appear to be in good shape.  They need some care and attention, as well as that the surrounding grass and weeds are very dry and overgrown.  At present, it all looks to be a gradually deteriorating structure, aside from being prone to blight and fire hazard.

It’s not to say that this landmark “agricultural” themed site with “architecture and structure” cannot be restored for continued preservation.  The city itself describes it as a subject for landmark status and historic inventory; but, they do not appear to be taking charge with its preservation, aside from assisting upkeep in any known capacity.

The ranch house is also currently occupied for residential use, whereas a mailman was seen making a delivery and a car was parked on its property.  Beyond that, the occupant’s personal status is unknown.

Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC*SJ) briefly mentioned the property in one of its past newsletters (Fall 2013), therein saying:

Ruben Baker Ranch Site is a city landmark in District 10. The Planning Department says it is not automatically protected. The zoning code has changed so any kind of use is possible for the historic building. If the owner wants to demolish any of its multiple buildings, a full EIR and public hearings are required…

According to city records, these buildings were constructed in the period known as “Horticulture,” circa 1870-1918; whereas, they also appear to have been submitted with a form at the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).  That status with the state is yet confirmed.

As far as the city of San Jose, the sites APN number is 701-01-006.   Its city landmark file number is HL92-61.

It is also unsure as of the current status of the abandoned park-and-ride lot.  VTA has yet to respond if they are the controlling party.

The “For Sale” sign at the front of the Baker Ranch property is posted by a firm known as Cassidy Turley, a commercial real-estate services company.  At the time of this writing, the status of this commercial relationship is not known.  The property does not appear on Cassidy Turley’s online listing  for the San Jose 2014 inventory of real estate that is for sale.  That’s although the sign is still currently posted.

Both these properties are situated in the central area of San Jose City Council District 10, represented by Johnny Khamis.  This is the Almaden Planning Area.

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