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Council "underwhelmed" by San Antonio Center plans

Original post made on May 19, 2010

On Tuesday, half of the City Council was "underwhelmed" by the latest plan to redevelop an important 11 acre piece of San Antonio Shopping Center.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 3:45 PM

Comments (23)

Posted by Tyrone, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 19, 2010 at 11:02 pm

This is a shopping center, NOT THE VATICAN!!!

Crude is pouring in the Gulf of Mexico, but having an 'underwhelming' shopping center is a catastrophe!!

Posted by Steve, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Not much the Mountain View City Council can do about the BP disaster.

Posted by Shopper, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I am underwhelmed by the vast desert of tarmac and white walls there now. Yet I reslly don't think Santana Row "Disneyland" shopping villages are the way to go. Just use the space efficiently, and make it convenient for shoppers arriving by car, foot or public transport.

Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 19, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I have to agree with the council: those plans are truly underwhelming. If that's the best they can come up with, either hire new architects or just leave the center the way it is until someone can come up with a plan that is decently better.

What I don't think we want to see is anything like Santana Row. Has anyone actually experienced the vehicle traffic there and around there? Holy cow.... no. Do that once and you'll never want to go back.

Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on May 20, 2010 at 12:00 am

References to Santana Row prove just how clueless and out of touch this council has become. A brain-dead demographic study tells you that a site so far from freeways in the middle of three small cities just doesnt have 'Santana Row north' written on it.

I wonder if a single council person has any idea what underground parking costs to build?

San Antonio Shopping Center is on a collision course with urban blight thanks to a council that is working out of its depth.

Posted by Inspired to Vote, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

One of Mike Kasperzak wetdream Gatekeeper projects.

I cannot wait to cast a no vote for Mike Kasperzak at election as well as the Mayor and a few others.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Willowgate
on May 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

What is going to happen to Sears? I like to shop there and do not want to have to drive all the way to Cupertino to visit a Sears. Will Sears be an anchor in this new plan?

Whither Mayfield Mall, The Old Mill and now this shopping center?

Posted by Bill, a resident of Willowgate
on May 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Why not leave this shopping center alone? It's just fine for me the way it is. I park my car once and walk to several of Walmart, Luu Noodle, Kohl's, Trader Joe's, Radio Shack, Sears, and the Milk Pail. It's easy and I get some exercise, don't waste gas re-positioning my car.

Posted by tommygee, a resident of Rex Manor
on May 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Yes I would like to know what will happen to Sears also. Mountain View has already lost JC Penny, then Montgomery Wards, and now possibly Sears!!! Will Sears relocate to another location within Mountain View? But now we have a Kohl's.
Like Bill said, we have lost The Mayfield Mall, The Old Mill, and now San Antonio is 'in trouble' with it's remodelling plans. I purchase items at Sears. So if Sears closes in Mtn. View, will I have to take items purchased in the Mtn. View Sears to the Sears at the Cupertino Center aka Vallco to get repaired? Or do they even have a repair center at the Sears there at Vallco?
Also we do not vote for Mayor in Mtn. View.

Posted by Laura Macias, a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

No, not all council was underwhelmed. As a Councilmember, I thought the proposal would be a very decent update to the San Antonio Center and showed great promise for improving the shopping at SAC. As I said at the council study session meeting, in this environment of tough financing, I am not surprised that the developer which brought the designs forth did not recreate the entire San Antonio Center Precise Pan. First off, they own only about a third of the shopping center. Instead for the land that they own, they are starting with a Phase 1 for the Front Parcel alongside San Antonio Road and El Camino which features a flagship Safeway, Rite Aid, small retail, restaurants and about 200+ residences. Included in the design is a Hetch Hetchy greenway/park space which will be desirable for residents and shoppers alike. (By the way, the new Safeways which have been previewed in other cities are more Whole Foods-like in structure and services, not price, and quite appealing.)

The developer also proposed 100% storm water retention in the retail parking lot. Currently most commercial,retail, etc parking lots do nothing for storm water and the storm water combines with the muck on the asphalt lot and then flows untreated to the bay if no water treatment is done. There were some other green practices as well in the plan.

In fact, I found the project quite attractive and was happy to see podium parking removed instead of a "gateway design feature" at the new San Antonio Center. Their Phase 2 near the current Sears would include retail, so there would be net new retail revenues for the city and our services. Most retail shopping consultants agree that the SAC today is a destination that attracts shoppers from several cities and could be an even better one with better thoroughfare design and more updated shopping.

So count me as a supporter of enhancing the San Antonio Center to fit the tri-city neighborhoods which includes both shoppers that walk and drive. If the neighborhoods in the area have particular input, let staff and me know. Thanks.

Posted by Santana Row comparisons, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

John the Man says:
"What I don't think we want to see is anything like Santana Row. Has anyone actually experienced the vehicle traffic there and around there? Holy cow.... no. Do that once and you'll never want to go back."

Yes, there are some pretty good traffic jams around Santana Row on weekends, especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the fact is, the traffic issues aren't keeping people away from Santana Row - it's an attractive enough destination that people keep coming and coming.

Just because you see some traffic and aren't willing yourself to visit Santana Row despite it doesn't mean that others won't do it. That's such a typical reaction that people have to any development around them - just because I might not shop at that exact shop, or I might be delayed an extra couple of minutes periodically at some traffic lights, we should build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything else.

Posted by NeHi, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Hmmm, "designed to encourage outdoor seating at the busy intersection." Now that's a new kind of green, using customer's lungs to filter exhaust out of the air!

Posted by Yogi Berra, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Nobody goes to Santana Row anymore. It's too crowded.

Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Very "underwhelmed" by the lack of development knowledge shown above. Unfortunately the market has turned sour on this group and they had big plans for this area. Now they are looking to slice and dice and fill any part of the area and get the hell out of Dodge. Moving to a nicer Safeway and a drug store doesn't really add much here. No one is asking for Santana row but both SR and VV still draw a lot of traffic and they are not easy to get to. The closest competition for MV is Stanford SC and I doubt Sunnyvale is going to beat MV to anything with their stalled plans.

Posted by phm, a resident of The Crossings
on May 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

As someone in an adjoining neighborhood, I kind of like what's proposed for SA Center. I like walking to stores that sell what I need on a daily basis and if I want to shop for high-end clothes (not often!) I'll drive to Santana Row. By the way, I wasn't at the study session but I notice in the article that "Santana Row" is never in quotes - did any of the council actually say that's what they want? To me, a nice Safeway like the one near the SF Caltrain Station and a bigger Rite-Aid, plus more sidewalks, sounds great. Housing onsite might encourage good maintenance - residents may howl if it deteriorates. One concern - any idea what will replace the old Safeway? I'd hate to see a vacant store sit there for years like that Alma Street Albertsons.

Posted by J Cierra, a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

A lack of vision. The developer has changed from proposing "some kind of market to occupy a large space that I do not have the ingenuity to fill" to "move the Safeway there".

If the city council has the best interest of the city in mind, they should solve the entire problem. What happens to the abandoned Safeway site? - No one knows, and it could lie unattractively vacant or ill used, to the detriment of the neighborhood.

Solving the entire problem means that we look not only at the details of the proposal, but what it means to the surrounding neighborhood and the sites affected by the proposal.

Solving the problem means looking at the fundamentals of what the plan offers. Being distracted by "100% storm water retention in the retail parking lot" means that we are paying attention to "delighters", a term that product designers use for features that are not essential to what the product does (imagine beautiful upholstery in a car that breaks down a lot).

And how generous of the developer to build nothing in the spot where he is not permitted to build anything (over the Hetch Hetchy viaduct)!

I agree that this site is unlikely to attract the high-end shops that Santana Row has, regardless of what it can offer. However, it could still have the charm and appealing layout of a more desirable design.

This design is not appealing. It is churn for the benefit of the developer but not the city.

Posted by tommygee, a resident of Rex Manor
on May 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm

On the site of the soon-to-be vacant Safeway on California street when the store moves to its new location at the San Antonio Center in 2012 or so; well I would gather more (compact) housing as in apartments. Perhaps one day the city council will decide on that---more housing.
So the new Safeway location will be even closer to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on May 22, 2010 at 3:19 am

As I looked over the plans looks like every other shopping center. Mayfield Mall and Old Mill were great places, to bad we don't have the SA site.

Posted by LookingUp, a resident of Whisman Station
on May 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Why does that sign post tower have to be so high? It's not like the complex is next to a highway where you need high signs to guide the motorists. In this location, a sign post that high is just an ugly tower.

Posted by bill, a resident of Whisman Station
on May 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Can't wait to vote "n"o on most of these council members they really are clueless.
Come see the monstrosity they call Pulte Homes next to the 237, a disaster indeed.
This councils foresight is if there's a space build on it for those tax dollars.

Posted by Alice, a resident of another community
on May 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Would like to see a "Super Target" move in (instead of Safeway) and get rid of the target on Showers! ;) That would be nicer than having Safeway Move! Then with the place that Target is at right now can be redesigned into Single family housing or a town house community! I know many of you will state, they have the New Target in Sunnyvale, but hey couldn't hurt to ask for a "TRUE" "SUPER TARGET" in the Bay Area! ;)

Posted by Floa, a resident of Whisman Station
on May 26, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Wait what?! Where's Quality Tune-Up at?

Posted by Grace, a resident of Gemello
on Aug 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

A new Super Target store is the BEST idea ever!
Maybe Mi Pueblo can expand into the old Safeway.

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