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Original post made
on May 24, 2012
I agree!!! Personally I like a full rack of baby back ribs, with bbq sauce...
Hey city council...how bout that Chick-fil-A???
Merlone Greier is like an enormous predator ready to sweep down and
devour hatchlings in the nest.
Yea a Chick-fil-A at the center instead of removing Sizzler for a Chick-fil-A. Sizzler has been on El Camino in Mtn. View for over 40 years now. It should stay. Why change everything??? A 200 room hotel at the NEW shopping center just would not look right. Bring back A & W so that we can get chilled Root Beer. And for that matter, bring back The Menu Tree.
Hell No! This is horrible. The traffic on San Antonio is already bad. I don't want a hotel. We don't want a hotel. Hotel? For whom? I can't find one lousy post card of this area so why in the "bleep" would you want to visit Mountain View? Not too high end retail? Many of my friends can't even afford Walmart nor do we want to. Google Hotel? Put the hotel closer to Google, not San Antonio. I love Barron Park! Save Barron Park Plumbing! Since we're also on the topic of animals, Geier in German means Vulture. Both City of Mountain View and Merlone are simply, dirty greedy vultures.
People were up in arms about the tall building at 444 Castro when that went up in the 1970s. Yet now we are used to it and I don't hear any complaints about it. Same thing with whatever they will build at San Antonio Shopping Center.
The more we go around telling people what they can and cannot do with their legally bought property, the dimmer the prospects for a Silicon Valley in which our children will find rewarding and well-paid work. Let's not be NIMBYs, let's not make this city into a retirement home, and let's not force the next generation to go to China for work. They tried that in southern Europe and the results are not encouraging.
For more on the latest findings on urban planning and economic growth, I really recommend this book, written by Ryan Avent, The Economist's US economics correspondent: Web Link
Merlone Geier, the developers, have a horrible reputation of getting their way regardless of what the community thinks. It's time to take them on now before it goes too far. They are already intimidating local businesses so they can take them over. This sounds like Chicago not Mountain View!
As for a hotel. That would be nice, but as you know it will be a bait and switch to get the development approved. Once approved they will let some time go by and then say they cannot get a tenant and will want to build another office tower. That is the way these guys work. The Sunnyvale Town Center development is a disaster and this looks like a repeat!
It's time for quality development in Mountain View that will take the interests of local businesses and the community into account. These guys need to get off their bully pulpit and work with the community. That way everyone wins and they will make more money.
I think that this development, if designed well, has the potential to be a big plus for Mountain View. Putting office jobs and a hotel that caters to office workers (as opposed to the lower-end hotels along El Camino) in San Antonio Center would help support the existing retail, bring in more tax revenues, and turn the center into a really vibrant destination.
And to respond to some of the knee-jerk posts above.. Why would we want a hotel? A hotel would be an immense benefit to Mountain View because of the occupancy tax revenues which would help fund city services. Who would want to visit Mountain View to stay in a hotel like this? Only all the executives, entrepreneurs, and contractors of all the tech companies in MV and nearby.
On the inability to find a postcard of this area... You can actually find postcards of Mountain View, showing Shorline Amphitheatre, Castro Street, and elsewhere, at the photo shop near Neto's. Why aren't there more postcards of Mountain View and Silicon Valley? Maybe because of all the obstructionist naysayers who shoot down development plans that would turn it into more of a destination. Merlone Geier's developments will help transform San Antonio Center into a real destination, a place where perhaps some day people will gather, take visitors from out of town, and - yes - even show on a postcard.
Re: the post above about Sunnyvale Town Center --
Town Center began construction in the 2006-2008 time frame, right before the worst recession since the Great Depression. The fact that it stalled for a while is not a reflection of the intrinsic value of that development. If you've been there recently, you've seen that Murphy Avenue is completely redone and beautiful, and there is a ton of development re-starting close to the train station. When Sunnyvale's downtown is finished (not likely that far away, as the economy rebounds), it will become a larger destination than San Antonio Center, and likely even surpass Castro Street due to its combination of offices, housing, large anchor stores, and smaller businesses.
I disagree. The Sunnyvale Town Center is a hodge podge of stuff. They tried to do a Santana Row and failed. I wish them success but it is mutton dressed as lamb.
What sticks out to me with a lot of the comments made about keeping the existing businesses, or resurrecting ones that have existed in the past, is that there is another opportunity for the Mountain View City Council, other than the development of San Antonio Center.
In addition to this development, why not designate an alternate site which would accommodate these smaller, independent businesses that don't seem to fit with the newer ones moving into San Antonio Center?
There seems to substantial community interest in having a hub where small, independent businesses thrive. California Avenue in Palo Alto, Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen, or Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park are examples of thriving intimate shopping areas without chain stores. There are plenty of other light commercial areas in Mountain View that need revitalizing (other side of Castro) that would benefit from such a revitalization effort.
Mountain View has shown it can revitalize a commercial area successfully with character and charm (downtown). Why not extend this expertise to other areas now, by redirecting some of the saved redevelopment funds?
Bottom line is, there's enough room and opportunity here to have a nice hotel, chain stores, and even an A&W here in Mountain View.
@OMV Resident and Martin:
Putting aside the knee-jerk reactions, I encourage you to take a very close look at the flaws of the proposed site plan. This is a suburban office tower development pretending to be a transit-oriented, mixed-use development. Luckily, the Planning Commission saw right through it.
Anyone who dares to walk or bike in this area would have to navigate around the bland exteriors of multi-level garages fronting both California Street and San Antonio Road, housing almost 3,000 cars. Yes, the new street fronting the Hetch-Hetchy park will be nice, but everything else about this proposal is soley aimed at squeezing as much money out of this site as possible, and only pays lip-service for strongly stated community desire for a walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood with a heavy retail component.
At the EPC meeting it was noted that the amount of retail has significantly shrunk in this new proposal, and instead of new stores, retaining existing stores, or a relocating the movie theatre, we're probably just going to get some upper-end restaurants catering to the office towers. So we'd be losing one of the last opportunities for Mountain View to once again have a nice, large, walkable, *shopping* area and recapture some of the sales tax revenue that is being lost to other cities.
I agree that the hotel is needed - finding a nice place to house out of town guests for weddings, funerals, and other events has always been tough in Mountain View, and it's become even more of a challenge since Google and Co have taken off. But the hotel alone isn't worth giving up a huge chunk of San Antonio Center to office towers and parking garages.
You are kidding me?? A hotel now? How depressing. It's already depressing enough seeing that huge new structure being built on every square inch of the old Sears and Rite Aid location. Please, no more looming, monstrous buildings.
Merlone Geier sees only money and does not have Mtn. View's best interest at heart. Fortunately, most people around here are smart enough to see through it, and unless their bribery tactics work, they will not have their greedy way. You can bet that we will organize against them.
I'll say it again! As a long-time resident of Mtn. View, all I see for us old-time types is more reason to shop Sunnyvale. If Sunnyvale loses more stores [which I doubt] It will be Amazon for me and I don't want it that way.
By the way, Daniel, I don't understand "nine stories tall, including three-story parking garages below". That is six up and three down. Did you mean plus rather than including?
I agree with the poster 'OR" above:
"Both the City of Mountain View and Merlone are simply, dirty greedy vultures."
Speaking as a business owner in that area (near El Camino and Showers), having a good quality hotel there will be good. When we have job candidates fly in from out of town, we frequently have difficulty finding a room for them and they end up in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale.
Putting a large business complex near the train station is an excellent idea -- we need to make businesses easy to reach via our limited mass transit.
All in all, this seems very positive for our city and I support it.
What they are planning doesn't mean it will be the final idea, we have plenty of room to work with on the site, the smaller buildings are fine and can be a asset.
Hotel would be nice, if East Palo Alto can have a Four Season, Redwood City planning a hotel, why not Mtn View. I can understand not wanting the 12 story building how about three 8 story buildings with retail surrouning the tall buildings.
At one time this would have been site for a mall but to tell you the truth. The big problem that is holding it back is all the different property owners. You build here you are going to cut something off, and what big stores are going to take up space. Most stores aren't expanding, the are closing. We got high end malls to the north and Santana Row to the south.
If you have seen who has been buying office space and building in Mtn View, the latest ones haven't been Google, time to find other people willing to offset Google
"Waaa waaa, the buildings are too tall!"
Stick a pacifier in it. Too tall for what? Seriously.
I live in an apartment no more than 200 yards away from the proposed site. I love the Milk Pale and would hate to see it go anywhere; I walk to it today. And the prospect of more traffic sounds unappealing. So it's hard to imagine someone who will be more affected than myself.
But I support the proposal.
For starters, environmentalists should be endorsing this proposal. It clears no existing natural space, and it puts massive office, retail, and housing within real walking distance of a Caltrain station and a VTA hub. It will put a serious dent in the carbon footprint of everyone who will live and work there. Better here at a transportation hub than at another sprawling park on landfill near the bay.
The population is growing and the world is changing and Silicon Valley is one of the few places in the country growing jobs; so just stop your whining and get over it already. If the world doesn't change, then the world doesn't improve. Don't like it? Move. Every town between San Jose and San Francisco looks exactly like Mountain View. There's an abundance of sprawl to choose from. Here in Mountain View, let's try something different.
A hotel? Really? Seems like the oddest location ---- makes no sense on California street. El Camino ok....but California?
My vote is to keep the small businesses in place! Re-think your plan Merlone.
They say it will be 12 stories knowing the city will freak and bring it down. They probably want 7 or 8, but know if they start bidding at 8 they will end up with 6.
As far at proximity to Caltrain, who is going to tell Caltrain to stop the train more than once an hour? And I wouldn't count on high-end office or hotel occupants taking the bus. Maybe the janitorial staff and busboys.
I really don't see how this plan benefits the people who live in this neighborhood. We want to be able to stroll around in the evenings and weekends and have places to shop, eat, and gather. A looming tower of office and hotel space will turn this area into an urban office park that becomes a creepy ghost town after business hours.
Put those monstrous hotels and characterless office buildings near the freeway instead and focus on making the San Antonio area a vibrant, walkable, livable neighborhood for *residents*, not commuters and travelers.
This will be a good site for a Hotel, 2 six story buildings and 1 eight story building will work. Retail in and around the buildings.
The Milk Pail, B.P. Plumbing and Internation Market buildings should stay, seeing what is going next door will add customers I have stayed in Hotels and would love to have something like Milk Pail next door, I think the office workers would love this type of store
Some Hotel guess will take the train and walk across over to the hotel, others will take a taxi, most will rent a car. Prices for the weekend will drop, so just think your friends and family can come and stay for the weekend.
We have a nice city, we have a nice Downtown, preforming arts, we have some arts, Shorline, we have plent of places to eat, we have some fairly good golf course.
We have lots of future businesses coming in, forget Google for a miunte and think what else can we get. Do we stand to get a bank, more lawyers, stock brokers. Just think about all those people adding to Mtn View, eating, drinking, creating and selling>
Or we can keep a single story building with some stores, after a few years they might leave and we will get lesser stores Anyone up for a 99cent store.
"They need to consider the other businesses," Stoll said. "Since they built that fence I lost three days' business. Our customers cannot park. Customers can come in but there is no way they can turn around and leave. We put our last penny into those buildings. With these conditions, we cannot make a living."
Wow, I can't believe that the developers are actually doing this. They will put up a fence to drive a small business into bankruptcy. How is this even legal? It's absurd to let these people force us into believing what's best for Mountain View. Perhaps a luxury hotel will be great for Merlone Geier's bottom line, but it will be of no use to anyone who LIVES HERE.
Keep it a shopping center with small business owners so we can all take advantage of the space. This land should not be for some executive who wants to stop off for the night, for business, and leave the next day.
Merlone Greier development should end with the current under construction project. We need a company with a sense of reason and concern for the city to own and improve this area. Milk Pail and Baron Park are the kind of businesses that we need not hotels and giant office buildings.
How many of you purchased a home and expect to increase the size by remodel or complete tear down. This is on a much larger scale. Plan this project with the other properties in mind. Remember some of the businesses are only in leased space, need to plan for more on ownership type spaces. We need to think about the future of small non chain non tech related business.
Good grief, traffic is already horrible on San Antonio from El Camino to the highway. This will quadruple the traffic nightmare. Has there been any studies about the traffic this will produce?
From my experience with the city employees in the traffic department: they will throw out some counting strips.
Then they'll say the traffic count/speed is within some percentile and then go back to doing nothing and we will recount when the development is finished.
Have you noticed that developers can do whatever they want in this city?
And yes the left turn onto California from San Ant is usually backed
up half way up the bridge.
The only reason that this is being considered is that the city wants the hotel tax money. If it were housing for local residents, the developer would have been quietly shown the door long ago.
The city EMPLOYEES want the hotel tax money.
The citizens, who are the city, get the bill.
In what city does Merlone reside???
I've lived in MV my entire life.
All this talk about the buildings disgusts me!
I don't see anything wrong building a hotel, yes a 12 story office building may be too high. Why not have space for retail around the buildings and keep the Milk Pail, Barron Park and the International Market businesses and buildings. The buildings can be shove over toward the newer project already being built.
The hotel, the office building, new retail shops will add a much needed boost to Mountain View tax base. We had so many years ago a really good tax base, auto dealers, dept stores and etc.
Just don't turn this site into a single use project.
Remember this hotel was originally planned for the north Bayshore area, along Shoreline Blvd!!! I assume that Mtn. View still wants a hotel, so why not (now) at the San Antonio Shopping Center???
Today's editorial in the Voice makes even less sense. In the beginning they complain that retail is an afterthought, with too much housing. There is plenty of retail in Phase I, more than what is being removed. As to Phase II, council wanted a hotel and no housing, which meant more commercial. There is plenty of new retail coming to this site. MG is not afraid to add retail.
In the end the Voice, which has never spent a dime developing a property, claims that "shopping" is the best use of this property. How do they know? Maybe they should inform MG that are wasting millions of dollars on their plan and would do better if the listened to the Voice.
How is a hotel replacing local retail businesses benefiting me as a Mountain View resident? I too would rather keep the Milk Pail rather than the entire bloody development.
I would also not object so strenuously to their plans if Merlone Geier had shown themselves to be the least bit scrupulous. But the way they've been bullying our local businesses shows me that they are not somebody I want developing my neighborhood.
I went to MV high in the 50's and we have always been a rural city. Small and quaint. I do believe we need a good hotel for our family and friends but not on San Antonio and El Camino. It would be better by the train stops for out of town people to get to. Also lets not look like a big business location at San Antonio. Lets go for a friendly city look that will work for us. Not all tall ugly big buildings lets have some green areas. If Google wants a hotel let them build it on their sites, We are not just all about Google. We are a family friendly city and love our parks and pools.
Call me old fashion but I love Mtn View. Its a wonderfull place to live, I have visited all around the world and still love living here. I like the old world shopping in europe and many smaller shops. Lets stay short like 3 to 6 stories tall and owner friendly. Lets have a new hotel but not on San Antonio and El Camino. Closer to downtown like Shoreline and El Camino. We could use a few more plainer and more american type eateries where you can even get breakfast food. Yes we eat 3 meals a day and it would be good in our own town. Lets not be in a contest but stay focused and happy and not money hungry. yes I love my city
So they put a Safeway as far away as possible from the existing homes off California Ave and San Antonio and then want to put a hotel and office complex as close as possible to the existing homes?!? The hotel should be where the Safeway is and vice versa.
This is backward, but what I would expect from our city council.
We aren't a small city anymore, small compared to other cities. Putting a hotel in downtown would mean we have to find a large site, remember we are talking a 3 to 4 star hotel. Ballroom, pool, health room, maybe a spa, and room service. Remember what MG is offering we don't have to take the first plan, nice design, good mix of retail, office and a hotel with lots of trees and green space.
NO - NO - NO - NO - NO It would be OUTSTANDING if the city council and planning board would learn a NEW WORD i.e., NO - NO - NO - NO - NO
" Dog City " was one of the reasons I left MV and didn't look back.
MV is going to regret handing the keys to the city over to a developer...
Some developers feel they can fence businesses in, or is it people out? Give them a lock and let's see how long it takes them to throw away the key.
"Dog City" wasn't that bad, sought after space. They eat, they shop, they use downtown services, they pay taxes and where they work pay taxes. They have visitors who would like to stay near, a hotel would more persons shopping and eating. We have to get creative in use of planning and designing retail, we don't have retailers beating down doors to expand.
Boy, some people have short memories; " Dog City " was a VACANT PROPERTY for many years. It was vacant when I graduated from the ORIGINAL MVHS, that got torn down. It was vacant when I left Data General Sunnyvale to go help design the improved X-MP and Y-MP supercomputers ( the one that helped design the Shuttle at NASA-Ames...)
The building known as " Dog City " was a DOG on the real estate market at that time.
This city is called Mountain View for a reason, lets keep it that way.
Yes, I remember when Dog City was empty except for the dogs, was kinda of a joke. The building was built by stacking floors from the top down. Today it is full of workers getting paychecks, shopping and eating downtown.
Steve Rasmussen said at the environmental planning commission meeting that the City required Milk Pail to spend $1.7 million a few years ago to meet the City's specs. There is an agreement between the businesses in that block to share parking.
And this developer has the means to simply abrogate that legal agreement? And to deprive Steve of the returns on his City-required major investment?
This developer is already cutting off the parking to an existing business in hopes of throwing them into bankruptcy and not being called on it except by outraged citizens?
This developer is champing at the bit to get the real estate where Barron Park Plumbing Supply is, the best place for buying the man's wares within twenty miles either direction? And you know the developer wants the rest of that corner by whatever means he can get it.
Note that there is an agreement between Palo Alto and Mountain View re how many floors high the firefighters have to go; seven is the limit. Why would you want to be in a building with no firefighter access? Why build such a thing?
We live here. We are loyal to the good businesspeople on this corner who have done right by us and served our family well for 25 years now. Save Milk Pail. Save Barron Park Plumbing Supply. Save the other small businesses on that corner, and save their parking. It's the right and ethical thing to do.
The Milk Pail is a treasure and haven for mid-peninsula residents seeking healthy foods at affordable prices. In a David and Goliath battle, we need to stand up for and support the little local guy who's doing credible work and not allow big bucks to squelch honest endeavor which contributes to the common health and welfare.
Mountain View deserves better than this proposal. I'm picturing a "Downtown West" with a variety of shops, services and restaurants of all different price points. The residents close by and farther away want a pleasant place to stroll and do errands. This weird hybrid of an office park and shopping center full of high-end restaurants to service the the luxury hotel just isn't a good fit with the surrounding area- tons of apartments, a Safeway, Kohls, Walmart... We also need to plan for the future and reduce traffic by giving more than lip service to walkability and transit- oriented design. Make a nice streetscape for the people arriving from the Caltrain station. Have the people who drive have to go to a parking garage on the interior of the center. Whether the city goes for the office/hotel concept or not, its a ridiculously bad design, making people walk through and around a wasteland of parking garages. Please come to the Council's study session on Tues. 6/12 at 5 pm to let them know we want the site to meet our needs,with a reasonable plan to boost city revenue with an intelligent mix of uses, somewhat taller heights, more density and some green space.
Re: Alison's comment: "Note that there is an agreement between Palo Alto and Mountain View re how many floors high the firefighters have to go; seven is the limit. Why would you want to be in a building with no firefighter access? Why build such a thing?"
Alison - what evidence do you have that such an agreement exists? There are several buildings taller than 7 stories in Mountain View now, including Mountain Bay Plaza on Castro Street and the Avalon apartments near Showers, just a few blocks away from the proposed development. I'm certain they have firefighter access - there is no legal way those buildings could be occupied without it.
Without backing, your claims about lack of firefighter access are just a scare tactic to discourage taller development, which you happen to disagree with.
Remember this is the first of many changes to the design and the scale. A nice mix would work on this corner, we don't have to get rid of the existing businesses. Milk Pail and some of the other food stores we have lost would have fit nicely into a new retail center.
Somehow, even after thinking this over for a while, I fail to see how a high rise hotel fits in the neighborhood, or into any sensible development plan for the area. What benefit it can possibly bring, except maybe increase tax revenus to the city? Surely, the city of Mountain View cannot be so desperate. The proposed hotel seems completely out of place. It will be a nightmare for the residents nearby, and death to the small businesses like the beloved Milk Pail, that bring so much to the quality of life here. Why not be innovative? If we must have a hotel here, how about considering alternatives such as a smaller modern "boutique" type hotel, which would integrate more organically into the fabric of the community and allow for retail on a human scale. The types of patrons who typically choose such accomodations might also be ones who would take the train to get there.
Seriously, readers, let's not be naive.
They'll ask for 12 stories knowing full well they'll be denied, then they'll get the 7-8 stories they actually wanted and the citizens of Mountain View will be left with the feeling that their was a reasonable compromise and that the City Council did something other than roll over to developers. This has been an inside job from the start.
Folks who can't imagine how a large hotel in Mountain View would fill our needs are not part of the vibrant economy of our city. My place of employment in Mountain View has less than 50 employees yet it has high-tech visitors from Europe and all over the U.S. Retired people who have very little skin in the game through the local business economy currently have a disproportionately large soapbox due to their free time to attend city meetings. I wish we were not at the mercy of so many retired people who aren't paying enough taxes ($600/year for a $900K home while young people pay more than 10x that) yet refuse changes that would benefit citizens who are still working. Our schools are not getting enough tax revenue and economic growth is hampered by silly requests for A&W restaurants from days of yore. We're getting it from both ends!
Wage Slave I agree. If we build this hotel we will get those visitors who come here. Why not build it so we can get some of those taxes, they can even shop at the Milk Pail. Mountain View is host to come large companies and other companies seeking to become big. We have lots of firms in offices, why not make more offices to let these firms expand or even open up. Yes I do miss Linda's Drive In, Mountain View Ford, The Mt View Theater, but things change. Let do a good job on designing really nice buildings, spaces for people to enjoy and marvel
Citizen input has very little impact on Mtn View's direction. All city operations are controlled by the city staff, and our elected council has NO direct control over them. Whatever course yields the most revenue to be 'managed' will be the one followed, regardless of the citizen's wishes.
That's why Prometheus Real Estate Group & Merlone Greier are here.
There is no stopping them, but even city council said too much to the out of control development at San Antonio and California.
We think a previous poster got it right. Start off with 16 stories then
"compromise" and scale it back to 8 stories.
The Milk Pail is an important and valued Mountain View business. It's business like this that help give Mountain View its character and appeal. I hope our city can recognize this and do everything it can to protect it. What a tragedy it would be to see a business so loved by the community get choked out!
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