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City acquires possible shopping center location

Original post made on Nov 3, 2009

With an eye towards building another shopping center in Mountain View, the city has acquired a $9.5 million piece of property at the intersection of Moffett Boulevard and Highway 101, and council members are scheduled to set aside extra funding to clean up the site during tonight's regular meeting.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 11:38 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by Bruce Karney, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I'm impressed by the creativity of Kevin Duggan and the City's staff in finding this opportunity to expand Mountain View's retail base.

Posted by Curious about taxes..., a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Does anyone know what happens to property taxes on City owned properties? Getting the lease money is great but not if it takes property taxes dollars away from the schools for instance.

Posted by LFM, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm

My initial reaction was - we do not need any more retail. However, given the location it could be a good move and good to see the city being entrepreneurial.

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

This is amazing. Have we totally gone to a socialistic economy? Buying property with taxpayer money and developing it is not the function of a government. If you are a business in Mountain View, the city is using its taxing power to get money from you and then turns around and buys properties in direct competition with you.

"Tonight's council meeting will also include a discussion on greenhouse gas reduction targets — including lowering fees for solar panel permits — and on an ordinance from 1979 preventing apartments from being converted to condominiums."

How are these functions of a government? These are clearly unconstitutional.

No wonder businesses and citizens are leaving the Socialist State of California (SSC) in droves. The only way our population increases is through illegal immigration with the Federal government's open borders policy.

Posted by Seer, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm

This is one of the more bizarre stories I've seen in a long time. It's as though it was written 20 years ago. With today's economic downturn and the glut of unused retail space in the city, I can't understand what the city is thinking. Economists are predicting a long period of flat economy or limited growth, so where will the demand for additional shopping come from? Instead, we should be looking for sustainable uses for the land that serve the interests of Mountain View's population, including potential relocation of businesses that are being zoned out of their current locations, such as those on Old Middlefield. A "small business enterprise zone" would provide jobs and short commutes for Mountain View residents, for example.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 4, 2009 at 8:58 am

It's a good idea to create long term tax revenues. Besides, we end up driving to Stanford Shopping Center or Westfield Mall; it would be nice to have something closer. That being said, Sunnyvale is developing an updated mall, and of course the Old Mill died -- so what will be at this new site that will successful and reliably generate tax revenues? We'll see how this plays out.

Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2009 at 10:32 am

It sounds like the city got a good deal. If my understanding is correct, they will do a ground lease with someone else taking the risk and building the structures. Retail sites with immediate freeway access are generally in demand, so this seems pretty safe long term.

As far as doing this during a recession, remember the words of Warren Buffet: ""Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful."

curious-- city's make private investments all the time. What could possibly be LESS "socialist" than creating a long term, sustainable, low-risk, PRIVATE revenue source? Its not like the city is going to build the buildings or pick the tenants, and as far as competition, if the site is the best one for a retail venture, then SOMEONE will build there-- the city is taking advantage of the free market, not manipulating it!

Posted by Nick, a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2009 at 11:10 am


I hope whatever development goes there takes full advantage of its awesome location along Stevens Creek with direct access to the Stevens Creek Trail.

Obviously, the location is good for retail due to freeway access/visiblity, and the easiest thing to do would be to plop a big box store down with a parking garage. But imagine if the western side of the property, the part along the creek, had a few restaurants with outdoor dining terraces overlooking Stevens Creek and were directly connected to the trail via a new footbridge. Something like the way the creek is used as a focal point in Downtown San Luis Obispo and Ashland, Oregon, or much smaller scale version of the River Walk in San Antonio.

Could be a very nice and unique place!

Posted by Opps, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Maybe it will be a Home Depot. Opps the city already missed out on that deal at the old Emporium.

Posted by Thom, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 4, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Mountain View doesn't need a new shopping center. Remember Mayfield Mall, or the Old Mill shopping centers? And it's a garbage spot to place anything like that. Across the street sits the former "Denny's" which was closed for lack of business. And the tiny strip mall across from it holds a restaurant that opens 2 days a week, a dry cleaners, and a small convienance store next to a gay bar. Bad idea again from the "City Council".

Posted by Jon Wiener, a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2009 at 1:52 am

Fencing to "address" homelessness sounds a little like Newspeak to me.

Curious -- Which constitution are you referring to? Both the state and federal constitutions give local governments broad police power to protect general public welfare by reducing pollution. Do you object to that, or is it the city's efforts to reduce red tape that has you so upset?

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

eric-"city's make private investments all the time. What could possibly be LESS "socialist" than creating a long term, sustainable, low-risk, PRIVATE revenue source?"
What's private about the city buying property to set up businesses with taxpayer money. By your definition, the Soviet state-run farms were PRIVATE because they sold their produce.

Jon Weiner-"Which constitution are you referring to? Both the state and federal constitutions give local governments broad police power to protect general public welfare by reducing pollution."

So to protect the general welfare, the city can set up farms, after all people have to eat and build houses, after all people need a roof over their head. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot. Mountain View already does build houses with their so-called low income housing program.

BTW, how about looking up the 10TH Amendment to the US Constitution. The only things the Federal government is allowed to do are those explicitly granted to it by the Constitution. Show me where it says the government can set up businesses. If the California Constitution does not have a section similar to 10TH Amendment, it should.

Posted by tina, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I say they try and upgrade the area on leong drive where Mario's and the old Denny's used to be. that whole area should be cleaned up, bought up and sold before buying more property and making that look nice. oh yeah, i forget this area is by Evandale and they are going to let it all rot by itself.

Posted by Andrew, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I don't think it's so bad for MV to buy this land...after all it was owned by the county (and the other parcel the state). MV now will take control of it and put it to go use for the city.

Posted by Ron, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Curious - what are you on about??? The city is not buying land and building their own businesses. They expanded the city limits by aquiring county land with the intention of zoning it for retail use and growing tax income. If a current retailer is threatened they could always set up shop there. What the heck is socialist about enabling more retail space? Talk about a tempest in a teapot!

Posted by Matt Raschke, a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Looks like a very nice acquisition. Great job City Council! That site looks like a great candidate to provide more sales tax revenue.

Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2009 at 9:30 am


Curious, the city is not "setting up businesses". They are going to lease the land to a developer, just like they've done with several properties in Shoreline-- did Mtn View "set up" Google? It is a passive role. They bought an asset that will generate revenue. Would you prefer that Mtn View keep all its cash in mason jars buried under city hall?

Please get the facts straight before you spread your teabaggery goodness.

Posted by Tyred, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

More shops? How much stuff do we all need? Silicon Valley has enough shops!! What about the huge renovation being proposed for San Antonio Shopping Center? I'd rather see an existing shopping center be modernized than a complete new complex get built. And yes, why is taxpayer money being used for building shops?

Posted by NW Resident, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 6, 2009 at 10:57 am

In defense of Mario's restaurant on Leong, I don't think it's fair to lump them in with the vacant Denny's and other businesses on that block. Yes, they are open for dinner 2 nights a week (Thur/Fri), but also do lunch M-F and can accomodate group luncheons.

It's a nice family-run place with decent Italian food for the local neighborhood and we probably patronize them a few times a year. I think it would be great to have more businesses in the Moffett/101 area and might lead indirectly to the sprucing-up of Leong.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2009 at 3:59 am

It weill be good for this corner, the site purchasted and other one that the city is eyeing, good invest, rents and taxes, mtn view is not the only city that has done this nor will it be the last. Dennys, the strips center and the motels and inns will get a much needed reinvest and more people coming to this part of town

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Maybe it should become an organic garden with a small center for the homeless. They could tend to the garden and have a place to stay. Whatever food is not needed for the homeless center could be sold for profit to help pay for the center, etc.

I agree that the existing commercial sites on Leong and San Antonio should be spruced up for shopping and this new site should be used for something else.

I haven't been shopping that much, have you? Would a new location with likely similar shops at other locations really make me shop more? No it will not.

Posted by Jon Wiener, a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2009 at 8:30 am

In case anyone is still Curious, the 10th Amendment reserves to the States powers not given to the federal government by the Constitution. Of course, the Constitution gives the federal government lots of power -- it can tax and spend for the general welfare, and it can regulate things that affect interstate commerce, even if they are not commerce themselves. More importantly, though, it is meant to increase--not limit--the power of the States.

The California Constitution, by the way, is one of the longest in the world. Web Link. However, it, too gives local populations a fair amount of power to govern themselves. Not as much as it should, in some cases, but certainly enough to enable them to buy and lease property and to reduce solar panel fees.

Posted by Linda Dupre, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2009 at 7:25 pm

curious: OMG! I thought all the anti-socialist paranoids were here in AZ; the US Constitution includes providing for the common good "general welfare".

Nick, being a fan of the Stevens Creek Trail system I think your idea is awesome!!!!

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