San Antonio revamp up for council vote


The City Council could give final approval on Tuesday for the most ambitious redevelopment of San Antonio Shopping Center since it was built in the 1950s.

San Francisco-based Merlone Geier has proposed the redevelopment of one-third of the 56-acre shopping center, a 16.3-acre portion that extends from Sears to Rite Aid at the corner of San Antonio Road and El Camino Real.

A new Safeway grocery store, replacing the California Street location, and Rite Aid would anchor more than a dozen smaller stores and 350 rental apartments on the site in five-story buildings. There would be 311,000 square feet of retail, an increase of 88,000 square feet over what is there now.

A new one-acre piece of open space bisecting the project into northern and southern halves, dubbed the "San Antonio Green," would include bike paths and a dog park.

It has also been suggested that Target may wish to move from Showers Driver into the northern portion of the site, where there would otherwise be space for three 40,000 square foot retailers.

The development would boost the city's general fund with $1.2 million a year in sales taxes. The city would also receive a one-time park-in-lieu fee of $5.5 million.

Planning Director Randy Tsuda said the project has not significantly changed since the City Council discussed it in September, 2010, when a council majority did not reject the project despite being "underwhelmed" by similar plans in a May 2010 study session.

The Environmental Planning Commission has recommended approval of the project, but under several conditions, including new requirements that buildings face public streets and that there be a limit on the number of housing units on the site, which does not effect the current project. Architects on the city's Design Review Committee also recommended added detail for the simple contemporary design of the project's apartment buildings and turning the driveway in front of Safeway into a street.

The developer proposes to install electric car charging systems somewhere on the site, and employees of any retailer there will receive subsidized transit passes for three years -- a first for such a project in Mountain View.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 500 Castro St.

See also:

San Antonio 'pipe dream'?

Grand Plans for San Antonio

General Plan meeting focuses on San Antonio

San Antonio proposal includes 400 homes


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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Not all rental properties are ghetto, they aren't full of section 8's, i am sure the people building this project are thinking long term. A good Rental office, with high standards should do the trick. Maintance, and good property mamangement is the key. Oklder buildings on California and Latham stand a bigger chance of going down hill.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.


I've written a letter to the Editor voicing WHY my concerns are a real possibility.

I hope that the MV Mouthpiece has the intestinal fortitude to publish it.

It addresses existing points and what has happened in the future in other similar situations.

You may want to check out the situation in EPA...The " responsible landlords " haven't been so responsible...and these landlords are located in Palo Alto..a supposed " responsible community group ".

California Street has already turned ghetto the last time I visited your " sanctuary city ". Look outside the box.....

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Posted by Thomas
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm

The illegal laborors will look elsewhere if the project is run by a
UNION general contractor,,they will not be allowed on the site and will not avoid the taxes that all union trades pay AND local people will be put to work in this crummy job market,not to mention the safety programs and highly trained proffesionals building it better.

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Posted by ?
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Has anyone been to downtown Sunnyvale latley? They could'nt even build it, much less fill it. Good Luck with that, Mt. View.

Like this comment
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm

On the above comment re: downtown Sunnyvale --

I live in OMV but visit downtown Sunnyvale fairly frequently. The Town Center project there got bogged down by the worst economic downturn in 70 years, like many projects... but it is making steady progress. Nokia just moved its entire Bay Area operation into one of the new office buildings there, the new Target is open and is MUCH nicer than the one at Showers in MV, and Murphy Avenue is doing incredibly well given the recent recession and all the construction. The city just relocated their farmers market there after being over at the Sunnyvale train station for a while, and on a recent Saturday it was packed.

A new developer who sees the long-term value in a location like that (near services and transit) has picked up that project, and they will succeed -- just like new San Antonio Center will succeed because of its strategic location & value.

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Posted by ?
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2011 at 11:47 pm

If you build it they will come?? When it is done (if) I will be happy. Target had their own money to build. Nokia is a big step. But will Mt. View be so lucky? And what about the steel skeletons?

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Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Apr 26, 2011 at 1:11 am

Here I am thinking we might have a Macys or Nordstrom in town, and now all we getting are relocated Target, Rite Aid, and (yet another blah blah) Safeway. I could throw a rock from any point in Silicon Valley and it would hit a Target, Rite Aid or Safeway. How unoriginal. Santana Row? Hardly. More like Skid Row.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 26, 2011 at 1:51 am

It will so nice to larger, newer Safeway with an expanded deli/bakery and Starbucks inside of it, like the other newer Safeways. Rite Aid is pretty useless with Walmart & Target in the neighborhood, not to mention CVS. Please, I will die if you take away Trader Joe's. I hope that is remaining. Please - no housing mixed with retail. It is the wrong place for such a thing. A dog park? Why encourage people to bring their dogs to the store? That makes no sense. Green space means the day laborers will be hanging out, gambling, drinking, littering, peeing in the bushes, etc.. It is a problem. Just give us the new Safeway, keep the Trader Joes, and add the usual Safeway accompaniments like Jamba Juice, Starbucks, etc. Keep it simple.

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

Five stories is too tall in a city called Mountain View. How many views of the mountains will be cut off to satisfy city hall's need for tax revenues to pay for the pension liabilities it has incurred?

And then there's all the traffic it will bring. Did I just read that there will be an in-lieu of parking fee paid? Oh that's right, someone has to pay for Duggan's retirement checks.

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Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

I don't like the in-lieu parking fee either. I thought I read somewhere that the streets/stoplights around San Antonio already have a D or F rating, now we are going to increase traffic in this area? Crazy. Almost as crazy as the parking allowance for the Minton's rental units. It seems like every single building or structure that Mountain View is building is going to have a below than recommended parking allowance. Why doens't the City Council see that this harms the city?

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Posted by MVer
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

The only ghetto this development would turn into is a Google employee ghetto. There are tons of young tech workers who aren't in the position to buy a single family home yet, and don't want to settle for an old 1960s-era apartment on California Street. They also want to live someplace where they can walk to stores and restaurants. Downtown can't grow enough to fit all of them in it without encroaching on the single-family home neighborhoods of Old Mountain View. So creating another mixed use area at San Antonio Center with shops, housing and a parks makes a lot of sense.

That said, I hope the Council takes the Planning Commission's recommendations to heart in regards to the center's new buildings facing public streets. These kinds of developments have a tendancy to turn their back on the surrounding city streets - throwing up a fortress of ugly, boring, long blank walls or parking garages that cut them off from surrounding neighborhoods. A major goal of San Antonio Center's redevelopment should be to make walking around the site, or from one part of the center to another, welcoming, pleasant and convenient.

Like this comment
Posted by MV
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:58 am

City council should do something about apartment buildings on latham and california before allowing new apartment buildings. Those apartment buildings are very poorly run and with poor living conditions...

Like this comment
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

Regarding comments about a 'parking in-lieu fee' for this development -- the author of this article actually stated this incorrectly. This development will be required to pay a PARK (not parking) in-lieu fee, which the City requires for all private developments like this, to help defray the cost of building new parks in the city. This is a good thing - making sure that new development pays for accompanying services. The developer is also providing about an acre of open space over the Hetch Hetchy, so there will be some new green space right within the development.

You can read about the PARK in-lieu fee in the packet for tonight's City Council meeting (item 5.1) here:
Web Link

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Posted by re: Parks & Schools
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

@OMV thanks for the clarification on parks vs. parking. Hopefully some of that money can go towards a mini-park in our neighborhood (St Francis Acres).

The Hetch Hetchy area can not be built, so it's really not a lot of skin off the developer's back (and probably why the developer has still to pay the park in lieu monies)

Absent of the article and the report, is the impact on the Los Altos School District. Are there any hard numbers on how much money the district will gain via developers fees, increased property taxes...?

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Mtn View is not like alot of places, we aren't high end or low end, we are kinda of in the middle.

What to do with the S.A, Shopping Center, it is old and rundown.

What to do with rundown apt buildings, that is something that is big problem everywhere.

Think outside the box, i was told this, my view of thining outside the box is far different. The question is do you want a car centered low key type arrangement or have a people centered, mixed use with stores/offices/hosuing.

There is so many ideas.

Could this be used to help start the Grand Blvd plan for El Camino or just another strip center with housing.

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Posted by dla
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I think they may be moving the Target store because the Target store has a decent size parking lot. Then they can put more housing where Target is now. The square footage of the housing is probably going to be close to the retail square footage. Safeway down there needs to expand as it is too small ever since the crossing was built. I remember it being understocked before the crossing was built. It is difficult to park at Walmart or Trader Joes now. How will it be when there are more shops and a new Safeway? They should have underground parking like Whole Foods does.

Like this comment
Posted by Ben
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

More growth and development to produce overpopulation to impact everything and everywhere.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm

What a wasted opportunity. I can already shop at Safeway and Rite-Aid.

Like this comment
Posted by GDM
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Anybody remember the Home Depot proposal for this center? This proposal makes Home Depot sound great.

Like this comment
Posted by Gerry
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Thank you, MVer, for saying what needed to be said. The availability of clean, functional, modest apartments in Mountain View is woefully inadequate. You have a choice between run-down apartments from the 1960s on California St or high-end luxury apartments in the Avalon Towers. Build these apartments or at least rebuild the ones on California St!

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