SAN JOSE – A nine-decade-old historic building in the Japantown neighborhood of San Jose, once a laundromat and fish market, could be revived as a restaurant.

While planning is at an early stage, the potential development site consists of three plots, which include a two-story brick structure known as the Nishioka Building, which was built in 1929, according to a LinkedIn publication and a representative of the property owner.

The property has addresses ranging from 657 to 665 N. 6th St., and is across the street from a large complex of mixed-use houses and shops on the ground floor.

“This is a very suitable place, given that it is across the street and close to new homes,” said Hamid Panahi, CEO of HP Atelier, a Campbell-based architectural firm.

Historic building and former fish market at 657 to 665 N. 6th St. in the Japantown neighborhood of San Jose, view up.

Originally built in 1929, the structure houses Ichimatsu Tsurukawa’s laundries. Tsurukawa manages Ideal Laundry on the site, according to a publication in California’s Japanese neighborhoods website.

“It was purchased in 1937 by K. Inukai Co., which sold goods such as pesticides and fertilizers to local farmers,” the publication said.

In 1942, amid war-related internment of American citizens of Japanese descent, the building housed a barber shop and then a restaurant.

Nishioka Bros. bought the building in 1949 and began operating the fish market and grocery store of the Nishioka brothers on the property.

The fish market was the last occupant of the building, which was vacated around 2005, according to a publication on the San Jose Public Library website. Since then, the building has been permanently closed.

In 2021, the current owner bought the three plots, including the old building.

Lawrence Woo and Mealea Man, based in San Jose, paid $ 1.9 million for the property, according to documents filed at the Santa Clara County office.

A few weeks ago, the new owner submitted documents to the planning department of San Jose to convince the city authorities what will be needed to open a restaurant in the brick building.

San Jose historic laundry site could be revamped into new restaurant

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