Toeniskoetter Construction Transforms Vacant Office Space into Unique Library
San Jose trial lawyer Jim McManis loves books. It’s a passion that has led him to collect 13,000 of them, both legal and others. When he needed a place to organize this impressive collection, he turned to Toeniskoetter Construction, which recently completed the renovation of the new Democracy Resources — a 1,390 square foot library located at 42 South First Street in San Jose.
McManis is a partner at McManis Faulkner, a leading San Jose law firm. He has been a member of the trial bar for more than 40 years. Jim has unparalleled experience and skill in preparing and presenting cases for adjudication. He represents individuals in a wide variety of matters, including business litigation, civil rights actions, employment disputes, family law, and criminal defense.
“After decades of practicing and collecting, my library just grew and grew,” said McManis. “What better way to showcase these books than to ‘annex’ them?”
During the initial demolition, unusual and striking elements of the building were discovered. While creating a conference room, a boarded-up skylight was found, and after restoration, used to bring in more natural light. The plaster in the room was also removed and sandblasted to expose hidden brick perimeter walls. And in replacing the existing floor, it was apparent a fire had occurred at some point during the building’s history.
One of the most intriguing finds came in the basement under the building. There was a tunnel that appeared to go underneath the street and connect to an adjacent building. Some say the tunnel was a way to get to the speakeasy on the other side of the street during the Prohibition era.
“We were excited to work with McManis who was eager to utilize the character and unique elements of the historical building in the design,” said Adam Toeniskoetter, the Project Manager. “As far as the tunnel goes, I’m not at liberty to say more.”
The construction phase included all new amenities, such as updated office, meeting, and library spaces, and a new ADA bathroom. New electrical, mechanical, and plumbing were also installed throughout the building.
Emerging from a decades-old vacant and fire-damaged office space is a modern and spacious library and meeting place. Everyone involved in the project believes this architectural facelift will be a welcome addition to the surrounding community.
“Toeniskoetter Construction really made this vision become a reality,” McManis said. “This is the third construction project Toeniskoetter has done for us. There’s nobody better.”
Greg Stowers, from Stowers Associates Architects, designed the project.