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Mayfield Mall developer could be bowing out

Original post made on Oct 16, 2008

Toll Brothers, the developer retained by Hewlett-Packard to build a huge housing project on the Mayfield Mall site, appears to be on shaky ground with the project, saying it cannot afford the land price or a $6 million pedestrian tunnel.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 16, 2008, 11:38 AM

Comments (13)

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Posted by GSB
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Thank goodness! There were too many flaws and "what ifs" left unanswered with this project. This would be a good opportunity to start over and put more of the neighborhood's input into consideration this time around.


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

The council clearly has a deeply flawed understanding of how residential development works. I would bet good money that the end result will be a project that the nieghborhood hates even more


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Posted by do not back down hp
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:01 pm

If I was HP I would not let them out of the deal at the cost of what it was orginally purchased for. Sell it to someone else a better builder that actually stands behind their product. Toll will screw you out of a dollar for them to make 100.00. The property value by the time they are going to build will be back up. So think smart and do not follow tolls advise. Stick to your guns or sell it to someone else.


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Posted by Smart Growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Few people understand how a development proposal works. In most cases the developer does not purchase the property until the entitlements are approved. TB made payments to HP to keep the option to purchase the property open for a fixed time period. They decided to let the option expire and not renew it. HP cannot force TB to buy the property. At this point the project is essentially dead because HP is not a housing developer and the council will not let amateurs process a proposal.


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Smart Growther, you need to re-read the article. HP is considering keeping TB on as essentially an entitlement consultant to finish that process--and if not TB, they could and would hire a different consultant to handle that, as is commonly done.

I still think that the locals are going to wish the city hadnt screwed up the deal with Toll when all is said and done.


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Posted by Solomon
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 19, 2008 at 2:29 pm

There is existing sidewalk on Central Expressway, and that sidewalk is already connecting the Mayfield proejct to the San Antonio Caltrain station. It's hard to find such a good place so close to the train station. I don't understand why council members object the project just because of the tunnel.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:47 am

What a bunch of hypoctrites on the Council! How can you proclaim to support SMART GROWTH when you knocked 100 units off the project when it was approved. Then, you say you won't support it unless there is a tunnel!?!? How short sighted and ridiculous.

I love how the Council will bend over backwards for office tenants but won't support the units to house those workers. There is NOTHING smart growth or environmental about that.


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Posted by Smart Growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 21, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Eric, I don't disagree with your observation. Was merely responding to the comment that HP can force TB to pay the original price. With a declining market, some developers will stop renewing their options. They can always come back and try to make a new deal. TB is acting as a consultant but not sure they want anything more with this project. Sometimes you gotta know when to fold'em and move on.

Unfortunately, some council members use the strategy to not vote against a project but keep piling on conditions. Some supported the tunnel because they wanted to kill the deal. As to smart growth, note the ones endorsed by the environmental groups and their slow growth votes.


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Posted by Greedy Greedy Greedy
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Personally, I think HP would be better off holding on to the property. If the MV city council hadn't played hardball with Stanford several years ago (the university wanted to purchase the Mayfield site as an adjunct to their medical school) we wouldn't be having this conversation because Stanford would be the owner and that would be that.
In this current economic / financial climate, no developer in it's right mind (and the Toll Brothers evidentally have come to their senses) would engage in such a costly project.
The entire facility has been sitting there empty (but technically called "inactive site" by HP) since 2003. From time to time, HP has allowed various law enforcement agencies on the campus to utilize the place for police / SWAT training exercises. Hell, even the Department of Homeland Security folks have used the site for training purposes on occasion over the last 4 years as well.
Personally, I don't know why everyone is in such a hurry to tear that place down and build more cookie-cutter housing (most of which, when they are finally built, will be unoccupied because those units will be too expensive for most people to afford).


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Posted by MJ
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm

To be fair, not all council members are hippocrates, just the three (Jac Siegel, Margaret Abe-Koga and Laura Macias) that oppose the Mayfield project because of they think it needs a tunnel . How do you think the residents of Monta Loma get to the train station? We use the crosswalk. It's pretty simple really. It's funny because these are the same council members that constantly preach about "walkability" and "smart growth". By any reasonable definition, this project meets those concerns. My goodness, it's a stone's through from the Caltrain station.

Luara Macias says on her website that "I first proposed the rewrite of the San Antonio Center plan to design a 'village' instead of plopping down an industrial home-improvement store.' Okay, what better way to attract a developer for the "village" then approve Mayfield.

This is simply inexperience on their part (the three). Unfortunately it's scaring away developers, which means good-bye BMR's, market rate housing, retail, mixed-use, tax revenues, etc. I don't want the City Council to roll-over on every issue, but I do expect them to be consistent for all of our sake. Given the current market conditions, a little cooperation and compromise would be prudent. I don't know this for a fact, but I don't think developers grow their money on a tree. They probably have to answer to investors of one sort or another.


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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 29, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Google should sop it up and then we'd all be happy.


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Posted by jake
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Why not use the "flashing lights" on Central Expressway in addition to the stoplights that are already there, to make it safer for pedestrians to cross on the crosswalk? I don't like the idea of a long underground tunnel as it invites graffiti and crime. I'm sure someone can come up with a safer and cheaper crossing from the Mayfield condos to the train station than a $6million underground tunnel. A valuable improvement would be a widening of the sidewalk on the Caltran side of Central Expressway. This would allow easier access for bicycles, and also make it easier to maneuver the bikes down the ramp to the underpass.

My other concern is the new traffic that will be overflowing onto our neighborhood streets. With a probability of over 1200 additional cars being added to our neighborhood, this would result in more pollution
with congested traffic and noise. I believe the current plans will not block off any our streets to the condo traffic.

And...what about the beautiful trees that currently exist on the HP property? Is there any plan to try to save them and transplant them in new locations around the condo complex? Or is not cost effective?


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Posted by Matthew Etchells
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2011 at 11:38 pm

why not just make it into a mall again so we can go back to being able to stay in our city and keep commerce in mountain view?

you know not everybody want to have more upscale un-affordable apartments and condominiums built, it may be a shock to be told this but to this day there are people that long to have mountain view return to its pre 1980's landscape.

and honestly, this is land i hope to see google not be allowed to purchase...they have taken up too much real estate for there corporation.


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