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Home Depot story a goof

Original post made on Jul 10, 2007

A series of misleading reports in several news outlets boil down to one big correction: Mountain View has never received, requested or required $250,000 from Home Depot to help pay for the city's Day Worker Center.

Read the full story here Web Link

Comments (24)

Posted by Chris Chow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 10, 2007 at 1:36 am

Would'nt it be wonderful if one of our silicon valley high tech companies like HP, Apple, Google,Yahoo or HP would just donate the $250,000?? What a win win situation. Good press & public realtions for the company and of course the real win-helping these day workers out.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm

No Chris, it would not be wonderful if that meant Home Depot would be given approval to move into a location where they are not wanted. They are the wrong tenant for San Antonio Center. They won't bring more foot traffic to the failing Taco Del Mar or Dollar Store next to the Sears. Home Depot is not wanted in Mountain View. They were already denied a reasonable location in Mountain View at El Camino and 85. San Antonio Center is a much worse location for a Home Depot than that one. Fortunately our City Council does seem to recognize that fact.

The area around San Antonio Center actually needs a new elementary school which is part of Los Altos School District (LASD). The Sears site is big enough and could be designed into a great new school with welcome playing fields and community meeting space. It might even be big enough to house the Bullis Charter School (BCS) too. It seems obvious that LASD is not going to move BCS to the Bullis-Purissima site.

The new 2008 attendance area boundaries approved by LASD last month show Santa Rita Elementary will be over crowded again by 2012. If the board of LASD truly wants to fix the mess and develop a long-term solution, they should prepare their upcoming bond measure to include the development of a new school at the Sears site.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2007 at 5:01 pm

The only people that DONT want Home Depot appear to be a few locals and the new members of the council! This site has nothing to do with the first one, and the problems of the Los Altos schools are not relevant-- I cant imagine the owners of SASC agreeing to such a deal-- that would have a massive negative impact on the whole center!

Home Depot would send a LOT of tax revenue into the LASD, and I think that the traffic impact would be negligable based on the site. What is your objection to that particular tenant there?

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 10, 2007 at 5:59 pm

The majority of the citizens of Mountain View have already voted once that Home Depot is not wanted here. If you want tax revenue, I would actually prefer Fry's Electronics to replace the Sears. But we need a new elementary school in this neighborhood more than either of those businesses.

Posted by Chris Chow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2007 at 1:08 am

my point Matt was to get a silicon valley hi tech company to donate the $250,000 for the Day Worker Center-I never mentioned Home Depot.

Posted by Jon Wiener
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2007 at 5:10 am


Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2007 at 10:20 am


First off, citizens dont get to mircomanage each and every business that comes into town. Measure N was a referendum on the proposed rezoning of a specific site to 'big box' retail use. The opponents of Measure N stated in virtually all of their public statments that they did not oppose Home Depot coming to MV, but did oppose it at that specific location for some good and some bad (my opinion- I voted against N personally) reasons. Measure N was NOT a referendum on Home Depot.

Fry's doesnt want the Sears site. You cant make them take it. Reminds me of the crowd in PA who wanted Trader Joes to go to Alma Plaza, despite TJ's repeated rejection of the site.

The fact that you see a "need" for a new school doesnt mean that one will appear at San Antonio. There is not a snowballs chance of that happening at that site-- the district doesnt have the cash, and I cant imagine that the property owners would accept it. If you want more campuses, you have to grow revenue. Home Depot will do that.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 11, 2007 at 10:59 am


The article you commented on is about Home Depot, so I made the connection based on that. Home Depot has already tried to get the Federal Government to trump any local development requirement for dayworker mitigation. Is that the kind of business we want in Mountain View? One that lies about their donations and then tries to get Congress to protect them from mitigating problems they help create.


I'd really prefer to see Sears stay in San Antonio Center. If that isn't possible, it needs to be redeveloped into a bunch of smaller shops that will create some synergy there. Border's, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Old Navy, and Pier One would be a nice replacement. Home Depot is a ridiculous idea.

I admit that I don't know the history of why the Emporium site was unsuitable for a Home Depot. But it looks to me like it would have been a better location for Home Depot than San Antonio Center. So to me, the citizens of Mountain View really just voted against Home Depot. Neighbors have a right to fight for what businesses come to our area. If that was not true, you wouldn't have places that ban or prohibit Adult Gift Shops and liquor stores. I prefer to at least be as NIMBY as I can. It is my right as a Californian. ;-)

Posted by Amanda
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 11, 2007 at 11:40 am

I would hate to have the Home Depot put Bruce Bauer out of business.

Posted by Brian Taylor
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 11, 2007 at 11:41 am

Why would Silicon Valley high tech companies want to make a tacit endorsement for illegal immigration by donating to a Day Worker Center? They are already working hard at getting more tech workers through legal means.

Posted by K Johnson
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 11, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Not everyone is opposed to Home Depot at S.A. Shopping centre. We would like to see a new business go in there, and renovate the area, and HD has shown a pretty good plan. yes, there is an issue with day laborers, but there may be some solution to that. HD may be better than having a huge dead area that exists now on that entire corner of the centre. we think Sears building is hugely outdated and ugly.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2007 at 3:06 pm

Matt, if those businesses saw a good market at SA, they'd be there. Simple as that.

Home Depot was voted down in MV because of 1. (unfounded in my opinion) concerns about the specific truck access to the site, and the impact on a large neighborhood adjacent to it and 2. Alternative proposals for the site. Item 1 just doesnt apply to SA. There is access from multiple streets.

As far as Sears, a standalone dept store of that size isnt likely to last forever. If there's an opportunity for the site owners to do something different, it is in their best interest, as well as the communities, for them to take it. Bet you lunch that there is no Sears there in 10 years, regardless of Home Depot.

Adult bookstores and liquor stores recieve special treatment in zoning regs in probably every city in the country.

Posted by nick
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 12, 2007 at 3:00 am

"Matt, if those businesses saw a good market at SA, they'd be there. Simple as that."

Actually Eric, it's not as simple as that. From what I have been told, the San Antonio Center is a very desirable location and Mountain View is an under-served retail market. It's the current layout and tenant space sizes that are keeping those types of stores from locating in the San Antonio Center, not the market.

Unfortunately, the owners of the Sears property have expressed no interest in redeveloping the site and would prefer to replace one big box with another, because it's easy. That is why that part of the San Antonio Center has remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s while the rest has been redeveloped.

The plan for the whole shopping center needs to be rethought.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 12, 2007 at 8:59 am

"Sears building is hugely outdated and ugly"

And Home Depot's are so beautiful.

Thanks Nick! You are exactly right. Thoit Bros. are just being lazy. They want an easy job of just switching big tenants. That will not serve the neighborhood at all. Why can't people just drive to the HD in East Palo Alto? I do it all the time. It is not very far at all. I typically use OSH more than HD, however.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2007 at 10:50 am

So, full-time real estate developers are too "lazy" to maximize their returns? That's a pretty ludicrous statement.

SASC is way too big for any practical deployment of neighborhood retail, except through a little add-on strip near a corner. I dont think that would work well there without a major tweak of, well, everything. Probably not worth doing. Why dont you lease a big chunk of the parking lot for 50 years and take the risk yourself?

The issue isnt "people just driving to EPA". The issue is that HD sees good demand, the property owners see a strong tenant, and the city SHOULD see the revenue potential

Posted by nick
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 12, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Eric, your jumping to conclusions.

The Thoits (the owners of that half of the San Antonio Center) aren't "full time real-estate developers." They're basically long-time absentee land-owners who don't want to be bothered with what is actually the most profitable use of the land.

The parcel not only includes Sears, but also the Rite-Aid and the always empty parking lot on San Antonio Road near Ross. It's an eyesore and you don't need to be an expert in urban economics to know it's severely underutilized parcel given its prime location near major roads and transit.

Mountain View has big box stores pretty well-covered. What we're missing are the mid-range stores that a previous poster mentioned. We're losing sales tax dollars and wasting gas driving to shopping centers in San Jose (Valley Fair/Santana Row), Palo Alto (Stanford), Campbell (The Pruneyard) and soon, the new Downtown Sunnyvale. People have to go outside of the city limits to buy clothes, household goods, furniture, etc. Losing Sears would make that even worse in some respects.

The San Antonio Center *should* be the place where those purchases are made and it has the room for them *if* its owners could just be a little more visionary with their plans. A mixed-use approach like what's being done in Downtown Sunnyvale (aka a less high-end version of Santana Row) seems perfect for the site given its location near transit.

Not to mention, Home Depot's proposal (at least the last version I saw) will make the layout of the shopping center even more confusing than it is now. The Sears entrance facing what's left of the old shopping mall would be replaced by Home Depot's loading docks. Whereas right now you can pleasantly walk from Trader Joe's to Sears, you would instead run up against a blank wall hiding the loading docks.

The City should be pushing the Thoits to leave the 1950s behind and start to coordinate with the rest of the owners of the shopping center to redevelop the site in a coordinated manner rather than fragmenting even further. This is the City's chance to actually do some *planning* for the San Antonio Center. We shouldn't let it slip by and watch long-term leases lock the site up for another 25 years while other cities redevelop their worn-out shopping center.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2007 at 4:26 pm


First off, a real estate developer with multiple holdings and many very recent developments in the immediate area (oh, and housed in Palo Alto) is niether absentee or passive.

Second, SA USED to be a mid-range alternative to the Malls you described. It failed. Malls are becoming bigger and more and more regional. There are LESS major ones now then there were 15 years ago locally, despite huge population gains, and those that are being built are a very diffent animal (Santana Row comes to mind). The proliferation of big box stores has something to do with that, as does growth in mail and online sales. We no longer "need" to shop at malls, rather they must attract us.

Who exactly is walking from TJ's to Sears? When I go buy groceries, I drive them home right away. Frankly, Sears and TJ's dont have a lot of overlap in their customer base. To get the synergy you want, which one would you like to close?

Its too big for a mixed use project like SV. You could do major residential with some ancillary retail (which would not fly in MV), or you could go with what the market is demanding-- more big box.

If there was demand for what you describe, someone would be beating down the thoits' door to build it. THe only proposal Im aware of is Home Depot.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 12, 2007 at 9:58 pm


I am not making the "lazy" argument about the owners without any basis. Other people in my neighborhood met with Home Depot, and they told me this:

"Unfortunately, according to the HomeDepot person, the owners of the building are old and felt "overwhelmed" with the idea of embarking by themselves on a project of demolishing, renovating, and leasing to several tenants. By contrast, HomeDepot offered to take care of the demolition and constitutes a single tenant to deal with. "

How do you know that Fry's was not interested?

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Oh, you have third-hand hearsay spurred by someone selling a specific concept. I didnt realize...

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 13, 2007 at 9:32 am


The quote I posted was from a written report by my neighbors after they met with the Home Depot representative. This is equivalent to meeting minutes. The only unreliable part of it is the fact that the information came from the Home Depot representative. Since the newspaper article on which we are commenting is about Home Depot's lies, I cannot be sure this is true either. But Nick seemed to have the same view of the Thoits too.

How do you know that Fry's was not interested?

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2007 at 9:38 am

Your neighbors "minutes" dont jibe with common sense. Whether that is from a Home Depot spin or poor notetaking is not something I can answer.

I dont "know" Frys has never been interested in that site, but I doubt it. First, it doesnt make sense based on the proximity to two other locations. Second, if they were interested in locating there, it would certainly have been out at least as a rumor. Third, they dont tend to locate in higher cost retail centers, but in large warehouse buildings.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2007 at 9:54 am

Im going to retract "poor notetaking" in favor of "selective hearing". Neither meant to bash your neighbor

Posted by bikes2work
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2007 at 4:45 pm

The Mountain View City Council will discuss whether HD's proposed store is consistent with the San Antonio Center Precise Plan. This will be the second of two topics they will discuss in a session beginning 6:30, so maybe around 7PM. No formal decisions are made at a study session but usually there is a time for public comment, limited to 3 minutes per speaker.

The study session package is over 50 pages long but here is a link (hope it works): Web Link

Here's a link to the agenda: Web Link

Here's a link to a BIO on the property owner:
Web Link

Posted by sara
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 5, 2007 at 6:28 am

why not a Safeway instead of a Sears. The California Ave. Safeway is too samll, the Palo Alto Midtwon Safeway way way too small and we need a mega super market to serve PA/MtView.

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