A New $180M Facelift for the Old San Antonio Center

Curbside storefronts, green space and apartments could revitalize the regional shopping center.

? Gone. Endless rows of parking spots? Gone. ? Demolished and rebuilt with glass exteriors and moved up to the sidewalk. The old San Antonio Center sign? Replaced by a newer tower filled with signage announcing the new retailers, an outdoor seating area and adjacent storefronts that abut the sidewalk.

The Mountain View City Council's  mixed use development to replace the current 16.3 acres on the corner of El Camino Real and San Antonio Road will change the face of Mountain View for the next couple of decades.

The new center will have 88,000 sq. ft. of new commercial space for a total of 311,000 sq. ft. of leasable retail space. Add to the area 350 units of luxury rental housing in three separate building and green space.

The new households would provide shoppers for the retailers, which acknowledged would mean more sales tax for the city.

"There's no sales tax from residential," he said.

The development would also generate more property taxes for the , Los Altos School District and the .

Eager to join the new center, would move from California Street because according to store manager Natalie Mattei, the grocer's lease will expire soon and the leaseholder may "go in a non-grocery direction," which means that Safeway would close.

Also, Mattei added that as a result of the "dilapidation of the store," the Safeway has lost customers, which means the city losses sales tax. Safeway's new glass building will have rooftop and surface parking, the latter to be shared with the other retailers.

Improvements to the current center has been on the council's agenda as far back as the 1992 General Plan and small changes have been made throughout the years, including the addition of Walmart in 1994. However, the impetus to redevelop the land took hold with the General Plan 2030.

Included in the General Plan–and a big point of discussion during the several meetings about the plan–had been how to make the San Antonio Center more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Mountain View residents wanted and got wider sidewalks. But within the center, how pedestrians, bikes and cars would coexist is something developer Merlone Geier will work on with help from the bike/pedestrian advisory committees of the three adjacent cities—Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto.

"I don’t mind people riding their bikes through this, but I do want it to be walkable," said Vice Mayor Mike Kasperzak. "This is still a suburban shopping center."

Another outcome of almost four-hour discussion on the night of June 14 included a look at how to add bike lanes on San Antonio Road to make it easier for Los Altos and Palo Alto bike riders to access the center.

While long lease agreements encumber the rest of the 40 acres of the San Antonio Shopping Center, expect future city councils to continue their attempt to gradually unify the center as stated in the Precise Plan.

According to developer Merlone Geier demolition could commence as early as next month. Construction is slated to begin Fall 2012.

mark martel June 16, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Thanks for the coverage. Was wondering what the plan was for the space. Any projections on start and end dates for construction?
Claudia Cruz (Editor) June 16, 2011 at 04:50 AM
Hi Mark. I mentioned the demolition in the first article (http://patch.com/A-jw2m). The developer said during the session last night that they are ready to start demo next month. On their website, http://www.merlonegeier.com/PropertyInfo.aspx?Id=367, they mention that they expect the construction to begin Fall 2012. I'll add this information to he article.
David Zinkbrody June 16, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Amen to housing and retail. . . . glad TJs will stay. Haven't checked with the gym to see if they're committed beyond 2012. . . . any further mention if Safeway is moving across the street? I assume the plan is still not to lose them altogether, I hope, anytime soon.
randy albin June 16, 2011 at 08:46 PM
is there any affordable housing planned?
Claudia Cruz (Editor) June 16, 2011 at 08:53 PM
Yes. Safeway would move across the street to the new location.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) June 16, 2011 at 08:56 PM
At the very least 10 units out of 350 but it could be more depending on what city ordinance is in place at the time the developer is issued the certificate of occupancy. There was a lot of discussion about this by some council members. Laura Macias wanted 10 percent of units (35 total) but developer replied with a firm rejection of the request.
Tracy June 17, 2011 at 04:05 PM
I must say I'm pretty disappointed with these plans. I wasn't expecting a Santana Row type of thing. But this plan looks souless and muddled. Why did we spend all of this time and money with the 2030 visioning if were just planning to go with a fancy strip mall attached to a bunch of apartments. This makes no sense to me and really makes me question the judgement of the City Council.
KM June 17, 2011 at 05:51 PM
the sign looks like something you'd see along the 880 corridor.
Tony Li June 18, 2011 at 12:35 AM
I'm disappointed in the opposite direction: I'd welcome something as attractive, upscale, and space efficient as Santana Row. Over the long term, this is going to be a key business district for Mountain View, and its density is only going to increase. Adding it now is far better than 30 or 40 years from now and doing this all over again. Additional density would also allow the developer to add more affordable housing and to add additional large anchor tenants, which will be necessary for long term stability.
James Denz June 18, 2011 at 04:26 PM
I hope they find a way to save the tall slender 70 year old palms that have graced Sears for six decades. It would be such a shame to merely cut them down. As for the rest of the plan, I'm disappointed that the architecture appears to be typical "strip mall" on a larger scale. The retail stores look too much like what we see everywhere else lately. I would have loved to see more originality since we'll be having to look at them for decades to come. As old and out of date as the current shopping center is, at least it isn't as crowded closed in, and congested as the plan in the rendering appears to be. Sorry for the ranting but I've lived in Los Altos most of my 53 years and really miss much of the small town charm we used to enjoy that's been mostly destroyed over the last three decades.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) June 18, 2011 at 09:25 PM
The palm trees did come up in the discussion James. I believe that some of them will be replanted elsewhere. I'll try and find more information. However, the heritage trees on the site will be cut down.
L.A. Chung June 19, 2011 at 06:11 AM
Heritage trees? What are those?
Claudia Cruz (Editor) June 21, 2011 at 06:08 PM
L.A., according to the definition in the Municipal Code (Sec. 32.23(c)) a heritage tree can be mean any of the following: 1. A tree which has a trunk with a circumference of forty-eight (48) inches or more measured at fifty-four (54) inches above natural grade; 2. A multi-branched tree which has major branches below fifty-four (54) inches above the natural grade with a circumference of forty-eight (48) inches measured just below the first major trunk fork. 3. Any quercus (oak), sequoia (redwood), or cedrus (cedar) tree with a circumference of twelve (12) inches or more when measured at fifty-four (54) inches above natural grade; 4. A tree or grove of trees designated by resolution of the city council to be of special historical value or of significant community benefit. No heritage tree can be threatened or cut down for construction without a permit (with a few exceptions). There's a fee for removal.
randy albin August 11, 2011 at 09:43 PM
just wondering if this construction is going to be slow, slow, slow. the overpass construction on mathilda in sunnyvale is taking forever
Claudia Cruz (Editor) August 12, 2011 at 12:02 AM
I just found out that the groundbreaking takes place in two weeks on Aug. 24 at 8:30 a.m. On that date I'll ask the developer about the time line. They sounded very eager to start.
Diana D. January 30, 2012 at 03:40 AM
I heard yesterday that Target will be moving over in the same area as the new Safeway. What's planned for where the current Target is?
Claudia Cruz (Editor) January 30, 2012 at 04:47 AM
I had not heard this yet Diana, but I will ask around and update you and others. Thanks for the notice!
MV Resident July 09, 2012 at 10:05 PM
California Ave Safeway lost this customer due to certain employees, not the condition of the store. The store manager might want to think about that is actually driving their customers away. A new store is not going to entice me back.
Alvin Go February 20, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Any confirmation on Target moving over into the new shopping center once it's completed?
Claudia Cruz (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Alvin, sorry for the tardy reply. I haven't heard anything still about Target. I've contacted the Bay Area Target real estate manager about your inquiry and will get back to you as soon as I have an answer. My hunch is that it isn't going anywhere. Why would it? It has a pretty good location with exclusive parking. I live close by and haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Just heard back from the real estate manager for the MV Target. He said that there aren't any plans to relocate. I'll keep you posted if anything changes.
Alvin Go February 28, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Thanks, Claudia! I remember Target was in discussions with the City of Mountain View a few years ago about doing a complete remodel of their store (to make it look similar to the new Sunnyvale store). Not sure what happened to those plans.
Victoria Doyle April 02, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Heads up!!! The new developer, Merlone Geier has plans to close The Milk Pail Market sometime in the near future. Please do not let this happen!! The long time community grocer is a much needed and welcome option vs big box style grocery stores that are taking over our neighborhoods. The market needs our support to help save them. There are signs posted in the market that will tell you where to email the Mt. View city council to keep the market from closing.


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