The building on California Avenue that until recently served as a branch of Bank of the West is slated to receive a major facelift, a colorful new mural and a new tenant: Silicon Valley Bank.
Last month, the city received a proposal from the building owner, Redwood City-based Arton Investment, to replace the building's stucco façade and remove the "breeze block" elements that have long served as the defining feature of the bank's front entrance. The decorative blocks will be replaced with metal panels and a solar-shading louver system that the applicant says would improve the building's energy performance and improve its aesthetic.
For visitors to California Avenue, the most visible change will be a large mural on the side of the building. The applicant plans to work with the Public Art Commission to come up with the proper design and to make sure that the new artwork is consistent with the city's aspiration for the commercial strip.
"The intention for the mural on site is to provide the community with a vibrant and creative piece of public art," applicant Kevin Lieberman, wrote to the city. "The design team and client will work with a local muralist to design a large scale mural on the building that will contribute to the local art on California Avenue."
The building at 414 California Ave. has been vacant since Bank of the West left in February. Because it will retain its "bank or financial service use," Silicon Valley Bank will not require any zone changes or exemptions from the city to make the move to California Avenue.
Founded by Roger Smith, a local resident and community volunteer, Silicon Valley Bank has 20 locations throughout California, according to the bank's website.
The application comes at a time of transition for California Avenue, which was closed to car traffic during the pandemic and is about to undergo a multiyear planning process aimed at further enhancing its aesthetics. The City Council voted earlier this year to keep the street car-free at least until December 2023 and to adopt new design standards to replace existing tents with more permanent dining areas.