http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2013/10/18/a-whole-new-image-for-san-antonio-corridor


Mountain View Voice

News - October 18, 2013

A whole new image for San Antonio corridor

Mountain View development to include new apartments, office, retail space

by Elena Kadvany

The massive facelift of Mountain View's San Antonio Road corridor has already begun — with the first phase of redevelopment at San Antonio Shopping Center currently near complete and much more development for the area in the pipeline.

Despite some pushback from the community, developer Merlone Geier is hoping to go to City Council for final approval in late spring or early summer of next year for a second phase of development at at San Antonio Shopping Center, City Planner Melinda Denis said. If the almost-10-acre project gets the green light, construction will likely start next summer and a two-year timeframe is anticipated.

This could mean the arrival of a 167-room, six-story hotel; approximately 54,000 square feet of retail; 393,000 square feet of office space; 28,000 square feet of commercial space and 35,000 square feet for restaurants on the north side of the shopping center between California Street and El Camino Real. There's also the proposed movie theater, which Denis said is locked in at 1,700 maximum seats, which allows for about eight theaters, depending on their final size.

Plans also include an underground parking structure below all the office buildings that goes down four levels as well as a centrally located above-ground structure with retail on the ground floor and seven levels of parking above. The hotel will also have its own one-level underground parking area.

Geier owns certain existing properties in the center — Ross, BevMo! and the vacant international market known as the birthplace for the Valley's first silicon chip maker — which will all be torn down, Denis said.

However, she said Geier has been in verbal discussions with BevMo! to bring the liquor retailer back into the project and is working with Ross to see if there's another location within the center that the store could relocate to.

The Milk Pail Market, corner restaurant and small office building are all privately owned and, Denis said, will remain. However, many residents have expressed concern that Geier's decision to not renew an agreement to share parking with the Milk Pail could threaten the partly open-air market.

Denis said the developer hasn't yet committed to any public benefits, but installation of a new bike lane — along San Antonio Road in front of Phase I and down to California Street — is included in the project description.

Denis said this will require modifying the lane configuration and moving the median on San Antonio.

"There's a lot of things that are going to change," Denis said. "Essentially there are going to be some traffic impacts, which is what we're studying now. (And) just the visual settings of it are going to change."

The total size of the shopping center redevelopment is pegged at 21.5 acres.

Also possibly on tap for the San Antonio corridor is up to 376 apartment units in five four-story buildings built over underground parking garages at 400 San Antonio Road, between Miller Avenue and Fayette Drive.

According to a city staff report, the developer, Pillar Group, has pitched a mix of 196 one-bedroom and 180 two-bedroom units. A "modern design" has been proposed, aiming for flat roofs, stucco, wood siding and masonry base. There will be pedestrian paths connecting all five apartment buildings. The proposed project is larger both in acreage and unit numbers than other recently approved apartment projects, such as the Madera Apartments on East Evelyn Avenue near the Caltrain station. Madera built 203 units on a 3.63 acre site, and the Pillar Group has proposed its 376 for 5.72 acres.

Scott Plambaeck, senior planner for the city, said the project is still at the early stages, at least nine to 12 months from city approval.

Rebecca Shapiro, associate planner for the city of Mountain View, said that the city has also received an authorized gatekeeper application — but not yet a formal development plan application — to redevelop the Target site on Showers Drive. The city authorized the gatekeeper application, which includes plans for moving the store closer to the street.

"The existing Target store is undersized and operationally obsolete," the gatekeeper application reads, which was sent from Target's Regional Development Manager John Dewes to the city of Mountain View in April.

The application goes on to propose demolishing the existing store and constructing a new two-story structure with parking at the ground level and Target on the second. The new store would be larger: 163,000 square feet instead of the existing 119,000 square-foot space.

Target also proposed bringing the structure closer to the street to "help to 'activate' the public street and provide the ability to offer more pedestrian friendly amenities including an open-space plaza," the application reads. There would be an outdoor plaza along the street, instead of a parking lot.

The project also includes plans for new retail space facing Showers Drive and a redesign of the area behind the DMV at 595 Showers Drive to allow for additional street-level parking.

Elena Kadvany can be emailed at ekadvany@paweekly.com.

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