A whole new image for San Antonio corridor

Mountain View development to include new apartments, office, retail space

The massive facelift of Mountain View's San Antonio Road corridor has already begun -- with the first phase of redevelopment at San Antonio Shopping Center currently near complete and much more development for the area in the pipeline.

Despite some pushback from the community, developer Merlone Geier is hoping to go to City Council for final approval in late spring or early summer of next year for a second phase of development at at San Antonio Shopping Center, City Planner Melinda Denis said. If the almost-10-acre project gets the green light, construction will likely start next summer and a two-year timeframe is anticipated.

This could mean the arrival of a 167-room, six-story hotel; approximately 54,000 square feet of retail; 393,000 square feet of office space; 28,000 square feet of commercial space and 35,000 square feet for restaurants on the north side of the shopping center between California Street and El Camino Real. There's also the proposed movie theater, which Denis said is locked in at 1,700 maximum seats, which allows for about eight theaters, depending on their final size.

Plans also include an underground parking structure below all the office buildings that goes down four levels as well as a centrally located above-ground structure with retail on the ground floor and seven levels of parking above. The hotel will also have its own one-level underground parking area.

Geier owns certain existing properties in the center -- Ross, BevMo! and the vacant international market known as the birthplace for the Valley's first silicon chip maker -- which will all be torn down, Denis said.

However, she said Geier has been in verbal discussions with BevMo! to bring the liquor retailer back into the project and is working with Ross to see if there's another location within the center that the store could relocate to.

The Milk Pail Market, corner restaurant and small office building are all privately owned and, Denis said, will remain. However, many residents have expressed concern that Geier's decision to not renew an agreement to share parking with the Milk Pail could threaten the partly open-air market.

Denis said the developer hasn't yet committed to any public benefits, but installation of a new bike lane -- along San Antonio Road in front of Phase I and down to California Street -- is included in the project description.

Denis said this will require modifying the lane configuration and moving the median on San Antonio.

"There's a lot of things that are going to change," Denis said. "Essentially there are going to be some traffic impacts, which is what we're studying now. (And) just the visual settings of it are going to change."

The total size of the shopping center redevelopment is pegged at 21.5 acres.

Also possibly on tap for the San Antonio corridor is up to 376 apartment units in five four-story buildings built over underground parking garages at 400 San Antonio Road, between Miller Avenue and Fayette Drive.

According to a city staff report, the developer, Pillar Group, has pitched a mix of 196 one-bedroom and 180 two-bedroom units. A "modern design" has been proposed, aiming for flat roofs, stucco, wood siding and masonry base. There will be pedestrian paths connecting all five apartment buildings. The proposed project is larger both in acreage and unit numbers than other recently approved apartment projects, such as the Madera Apartments on East Evelyn Avenue near the Caltrain station. Madera built 203 units on a 3.63 acre site, and the Pillar Group has proposed its 376 for 5.72 acres.

Scott Plambaeck, senior planner for the city, said the project is still at the early stages, at least nine to 12 months from city approval.

Rebecca Shapiro, associate planner for the city of Mountain View, said that the city has also received an authorized gatekeeper application -- but not yet a formal development plan application -- to redevelop the Target site on Showers Drive. The city authorized the gatekeeper application, which includes plans for moving the store closer to the street.

"The existing Target store is undersized and operationally obsolete," the gatekeeper application reads, which was sent from Target's Regional Development Manager John Dewes to the city of Mountain View in April.

The application goes on to propose demolishing the existing store and constructing a new two-story structure with parking at the ground level and Target on the second. The new store would be larger: 163,000 square feet instead of the existing 119,000 square-foot space.

Target also proposed bringing the structure closer to the street to "help to 'activate' the public street and provide the ability to offer more pedestrian friendly amenities including an open-space plaza," the application reads. There would be an outdoor plaza along the street, instead of a parking lot.

The project also includes plans for new retail space facing Showers Drive and a redesign of the area behind the DMV at 595 Showers Drive to allow for additional street-level parking.


Like this comment
Posted by My vote is for Milk Pail
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I don't think the Council should approve Phase II until the agreement to share parking is completed with Milk Pail Market.

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Posted by Old Coot
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Pave paradise
Put up a parking lot...

2 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I'm not a fan of the new development, which is industrial and concrete without a shred of beauty. Of course, what it replaced wasn't exactly a National Park, either. But it would have been nice to make a nice community space with retail shops, rather than a giant boxy commercial clunker.

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Posted by Jamie
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I agree with Old Coot! Mountain View is becoming crap. Great Leaders.

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Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

So Old Coot and Jamie -- what would you like to see in this area? MV has a thriving downtown, great residents, good schools, and wonderful parks.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Got news for you this wasn't exactly paradise which it was already paved over from the 50's to now. This area was once one of the largest shopping areas in Santa Clara County but with newer shopping centers, larger malls and larger retail centers that offered more stores. Bigger and Better become a key word, this place withered away slowly.

We aren't going to back to the old days of Mayfield Mall, Old Mill and the San Antonio Shopping Center. We aren't going attract any of those big stores, shopping mall type development or very large big box stores that could be found on the outskirts of any city.

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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Mountain View doesn't have enough housing, as seen by recent rent increases. The old San Antonio Shopping Center was neither pretty nor walkable. It's just that we were used to its ugliness. Things have always changed in Mountain View, from wilderness to orchards, to rural village, to town, to high-tech industry hub. We should be glad we are in a dynamic part of the country that provides jobs for young people, and realize that means change.

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Posted by neighbor guy
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Lemme know when it doesn't look like a construction site.

And that Walmart makes it a war zone at Christmastime.

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Posted by Steven
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm

New restaurants? Yum. Already love "The Counter"

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Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Let's go Mountain View; bring on a newer, up to date, vibrant city with taller buildings that wipe out our Mountain Views!!!

I can't wait for Century 16 theaters to rebuild it's aging theater complex with updated seating, like stadium seating.

Let's build more in northern Mountain View as well. The traffic there is horrific and will become more horrific...

...Let's go Mountain View, bring on a newer and updated city!!!

Like this comment
Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 15, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Bring back Boston Market to Mountain View. With all this building, the eatery should come back to town---A&W as well.

Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm

While I'm fine with updating with new construction (the old mall was a mess) and additional housing, nothing is mentioned about San Antonio Rd. itself. To support all the new residents, people visiting the shopping, and new Google employees at Central & San Antonio, San Antonio Rd. will need to be widened to 3 lanes each way all the way to 101. Otherwise traffic will be gridlock all the time and will back up on 101 for a mile in each direction. Then people will start taking residential streets to avoid San Antonio. Sunnyvale did a great job with the Mathilda overpass over Central & and the RR tracks. While Mt. View is at it the old 2 lane San Antonio bridge over 101 needs to be updated. How about some more complete planning City of Mt. View?

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Posted by Duke
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

This proves that Mountain View City Counsel and the residents have lost their collective minds.
We have gone from beauty, orchards and open space to a concrete forest, paved earth and ugliness in my lifetime.
Just sell Mountain View to Google so they can make it the company town that they want. It's become that anyway.
You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.

Like this comment
Posted by Ann Schneider
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 15, 2013 at 9:21 pm


1. Mtn View Voice, don't you think you could create a designation for all of us who live in the Rengstorff / California / neighborhood so that perhaps then we collectively could ask the City to remember that it is "we" who live with the increased traffic, noise, etc. And it is our neighborhood that does not have the trails the many other parts of Mtn. View enjoy, or the gorgeous downtown that the sales tax from San Antonio pays for, that we maintain the grass at Klein Park due to a deal the City made with San Francisco on the hetch hetchy land.

2. I am not opposed to upgrading San Antonio. We already lost our Mtn Views when the City approvced Damoiselle condos. But this will bring more traffic, increase the chances of more people being killed on California. And yet we see NO benefits from the developments. The major benefits go to the single family neighborhoods. Council you need to bring some amenities to the existing and greater Rengstorff neighborhoods. Course I've been saying this for almost 30 years and it falls on deaf ears.

3. I support higher density projects but gosh darn, you owe something to our end of Mtn. View, you can't always increase density on us and say, no worries that neighborhood never complains just forget about them (Yes former Mayor Faravelli, I will never forget your line about 'stick density up in the California, San Antonio area, they never complain".

Oaktree Commons - corner of California and Showers.

Like this comment
Posted by Quality of Life
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I'm really concerned about so many developers making so much money from us, and our having to live with the consequences.

I want to see the Foothills, but these tall buildings are increasingly walling us in. And how can we continue to develop north of El Camino without any schools in the vicinity? And agreed that San Antonio is in danger of becoming completely gridlocked.

We need to plan for a livable, healthy, beautiful future. Not to line the pockets of developers.

Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 15, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I support updating our city, but we cannot leave the tried and true businesses that made Mountain View what it is today. The city/ developer must work with The Milk Pail Market to insure their inclusion in the development as we move forward.

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:28 pm

San Antonio Road needed to widen to 6 lanes for 40 years but if you look at where it needs to be widen that would be inside the City of Palo Alto. The 101/San Antonio Road overpass does need to be redone which both falls under 2 cities and Caltrans.

Stanford Mall is going though a major remodel so why can't San Antonio Center. Why should other cities get major stores and we get stuck with a 3rd rate shopping center. Kohl's and Wal Mart and a rundown Target that was build for a long forgotten store.

Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 16, 2013 at 8:29 am

This development is good but doesn't go nearly far enough. The DMV/truck driving training eyesore needs to be eliminated and replaced with retail to pair with the redevelopment of the Target. Otherwise, the valuable corner is wasted and breaks up the retail and commercial from Showers down to and along Latham that the Target property could become. All those stupid trucks and parking on the street is all messed up by it, as well. Also, the entire other half of the San Antonio property (e.g. Walmart side) needs to be leveled and redone. It's horrible that the other two owners of the property are so short sighted to ignore the opportunity for the huge increase in value and cash flow that would result from a wholesale redevelopment of the entire area. Overall, this is a half-baked effort that fails to deliver the goods. Full disclosure: I work on Latham near Showers.

Like this comment
Posted by Avoid the mess
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 16, 2013 at 11:44 am

This is why I completely AVOID this area of town, and if I do have to drive through it, I use it as a freeway, less the speed. I would never even consider driving into one of those parking lots.
As far as I'm concerned, this area is a dead black spot on the MV map. Anything in that area of town can be had elsewhere without the hassles.

Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm

The new center will be simply beautiful! Mountain View deserves an elegant shopping center and high-end shops. The design has met criteria and comments from the local citizenry and the building materials are unique and lovely.

It is too late to cry over lost orchards and open space. Those have been gone for most of our lifetimes. There are at lease 6 other shopping centers in various parts of our city. I frequent several on my weekly errands. There is plenty of variety for everyone.

Be happy that we will finally have a phenomenal space in which to shop, dine and walk the dog. This is what progress looks like!

Like this comment
Posted by Jamie
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Well MV Resident, I would love to be able to drive down El Camino without feeling like I am on 580.

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Posted by let's get real
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm

@Susan, this is not progress, this is insane. This is LA, cement city. This is blocking the view of the mountains. I keep wondering where all of the water to furnish all these new living quarters will be coming from. I'm okay with "tasteful" growth - this is NOT "tasteful" Blah.

Like this comment
Posted by Andy Graybeal
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

It pains me to see so much of the San Antonio shopping area being dominated by "developer architecture" meaning that if you think it is an eyesore now, wait a few years. As John Huston said in "Chinatown"

“‘Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.”

Ultimately, the blame for the things that get built goes to the voters, who elect officials with limited vision. True, it has taken a combination of events and players to aggregate enough properties there to do anything at all, we did end up at the mercy of a developer with no particular community allegiance.

Stanford shopping center created quite a bit of controversy when it was remodeled in the 70s, but over time it has weathered well as an architectural brand. Since the property is a trust, the lease for even the smallest space can be daunting, but it still is a premier shopping center and to achieve that here is what we should be seeking.

Like this comment
Posted by Cami
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Traffic is going to be HIDEOUS over there. It already is worse since they added big homes off of Grant and Levin. How is Mountain View going to handle grid lock I wonder??

Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Get all the promises in WRITING! Talk is cheap, the reality can be VERY painful.
My opinion: You are allowing a Google Ghetto to pervert the no longer Mountain View(s) and the name.
All for the love of MAMMON. Developers will be the only winners. ALL the residents ARE losing RIGHT NOW.
GOOD------->WORSE has been the trend before Dog City was built.
When the 40 acre plat that allowed my view to Long's Peak ( what gave us the name LONGMONT ) was sold for housing, I put up the house on the market ( P.T. Barnum's Law prevailed )and I moved into those mountains.
One of the best decisions I've made.

Your residents may have to make a similar decision. Remember CO land and views can be pretty cheap if you can avoid the " Daly City type " areas.

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

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