Just a few years after its deal to buy Stockton’s Kendall Building fell through, the San Joaquin County Office of Education has bought the old State Hotel in a renewed push to set up a downtown headquarters for its software engineering department, CodeStack.
“However the outcome, they’re here. And they’re going to be downtown,” Michael Huber, executive director of the Downtown Stockton Alliance, said.
‘Something downtown, something cool’
CodeStack aims to transform the hotel building into a tech hub that will attract other tech companies downtown, according to an Office of Education statement.
The county Office of Education bought the building and an adjacent parking lot from Star Property LB Investment LLC for about $1 million, said Zachary Johnson, a spokesperson for the office.
Located across the street from the Downtown Transit Center, the three-story, 1920s-era hotel building will house offices and classrooms for CodeStack and its software engineering school, CodeStack Academy, the statement said.
“If you look at tech companies as a whole, they’re always in a kind of urban downtown setting,” CodeStack Director Johnny Arguelles said.
“That’s what we want to do … something downtown, something cool, in a setting where there’s things to do.”
Manifesting that vision will require extensive renovations, according to Arguelles. “It needs a lot of work. It’s like completely gutted.”
CodeStack would also be joining a growing education hub downtown, Huber said, including California State University, Stanislaus, and several charter schools.
‘Out of the ashes’
The State Hotel deal represents CodeStack’s second push in about three years to establish a downtown base.
CodeStack first attempted moving into the Kendall Building at 430 E. Weber Ave., another 1920s-era building that required significant improvements. The Office of Education made a deal to buy the Kendall from owner and developer Ten Space in 2019 for $3.4 million.
The deal fell through when both sides failed to meet benchmarks agreed upon for the purchase, Johnson said.
The State Hotel deal is unlikely to meet the same fate, according to Johnson. “One of the reasons this is going to work is that the ownership and transfer of ownership isn’t contingent on making the improvements.”
The Office of Education has not yet hired a contractor to renovate the building, Johnson said.
“We’re happy that not only the building’s being refurbished … we’re happy that Codestack is finally going to be downtown,” Huber said.
“(Stockton was) seen as coming out of the ashes with investors … and then COVID hit and it slowed everything down. But I think we’re starting to get that momentum back downtown.”
Record reporter Aaron Leathley covers business, housing, and land use. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.