Condos may set trend on El Camino

Four-story mixed-use complex will include retail, 28 units

The City Council approved a retail and housing project for 1616 El Camino Real on Tuesday that could be an example of what to expect as El Camino Real redevelops.

The four-story mix of 28 stacked condos above 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail will go up along El Camino Real and part of Mariposa Avenue. Heights taper down towards neighbors with a half dozen two-story town-homes at the rear of the project.

"We're going to see El Camino Real transformed significantly in the next couple of years," said Mayor Mike Kasperzak. This project and others are "good for El Camino Real and are really the beginning of the Grand Boulevard."

City planners said in a staff report that the closeness of the building to the street with parking in the rear helped it comply with the "Grand Boulevard" vision for El Camino Real.

Next door, 173 apartments have been proposed to replace Western Appliance and the Tropicana Hotel.

Council members Jac Siegel and Laura Macias criticized the design while Kasperzak and Ronit Bryant praised it. Siegel called it "unimaginative" and creating "a wall" on El Camino Real.

"Taken as one block it seems very compact," Macias said. "There's no place to go in terms of folks living here. Thank goodness there's a park close by."

"I actually think this looks very good," Bryant said. "Aggregating properties and stepping it down to the neighborhood is a very good example. It is enormously nicer than the unloved building that is there. I'd much rather look at this."

Responding to Macias' comments, Bryant said, "If we want open space we are going to have to incentivize the developer to give us that space."

The site is home to the old Austin's restaurant, a nail salon and a vacant retail space, and was once proposed to be a KFC drive-through which the neighborhood opposed and the city rejected. Neighbors did not oppose this project. Neighbors said it was "a great improvement over the previously proposed fast food establishment," according to developer, Stan Gamble of Mingstan Development.

With an average price of $675,000, the units will come in one, two and three-bedroom models ranging in size from 950 to 1,700 square feet.

A large oak tree on the site will be moved to accommodate the underground parking garage, while a large olive tree was found to be in too poor of condition to justify the same treatment.


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Which school district are all of these new residences in? Los Altos? Mountain View-Whisman?

Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Good stuff. Mixed use development is the way to go. It will keep traffic under control and make it more enjoyable to live in the new units. I wish we could get to see what the new buildings would look like.

Like this comment
Posted by Day Worker
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm

$675k to live in a condo on El Camino? No thanks.

Like this comment
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Mountain View has too many apartments and condos now, lets stop building more.

Like this comment
Posted by NeHi
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I'm looking forward to the day when El Camino Real is a thoroughfare enclosed by concrete walls. We will drive to Sunnyvale [not Palo Alto] to shop. Won't that be grand?!

Like this comment
Posted by MV Mama
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm

So tired of all the condos, will happily be voting out everyone currently on the cit council (except maybe Siegel). Where will all these kids go to school? I think they would be in either the Bubb or Castro neighborhood. The schools are at capacity already.

Like this comment
Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

What Mountain View needs is a higher population. And then a population living on El Camino. Imagine the drive on El Camino when the busses run up and down the center of the roadway!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Fed-up
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm

The Grand Boulevard concept, is planning to create a dedicated bus lane on El Camino. So we will loose lanes and get higher density. This is simply another attempt to get us out of our cars and into public transportation. Arizona & Texas are looking better every day.

Like this comment
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm

What's so "Grand" about a building that hovers over the street. And wouldn't condo owners prefer to be set back further from Hwy82?

Like this comment
Posted by Kristine
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm

you guys are crying like a skyscaper was put in town.

Like this comment
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 27, 2012 at 7:19 am

I welcome this new addition to El Camino Real in Mountain View. It certainly will be an improvement over the run-down buildings that are there now (not to mention more attractive than 90% of the other strip junk that lines ECR now).

Several posters make negative remarks about this, wondering who will want to live there. Well , consider that Google, LinkedIn, etc. are generating jobs like crazy and people would like to be able to buy a place nearby. Not everyone can afford $900k for a 90-year-old bungalow or ranch house, or $750k for one of those tall skinny things on Evelyn. I'm sure there are plenty of homebuyers who will happily buy here. Shouldn't we let the market decide, rather than your own tastes? These homes are not being built for you, but for the current young professionals who would like to be able to live in Mountain View.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr. DePortum
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

They should tear down all churches in MV and build/convert to affordable housing for homeless people.

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Some points to point out. The schools are the MVWSD and the MVLAHSD but not everyone wants to have kids or have a yard. People live condo or rental living, I would prefer to live in this building, I don't have kids just wasn't in the cards. I think young couples, singles or downsized couples or singles live in the type of building. As for the apts next door, it will be nice to see a mix of ownership homes and rentals, again not everyone wants a single family home with a yard, not everyone wants a car. El Monte Center is down the street along with a Walgreens, there is alot of stuff in walking distance, bus distance or if the car is needed driving distance. El Camino is not Market St or 5th Ave but I would imagine alot more peaceful.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Coffeebar opens in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 5,264 views

Couples: So You Married Mom or Dad . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 842 views

Spring College Fairs
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 786 views

The Cost of Service
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 354 views