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Council Approves San Antonio Shopping Center Project and Adopts 2011-12 Budget

Demolition on the future regional shopping to begin next month according to developer.

The new $180 million project will move forward as early as next month after the Mountain View  approved the plans in a 6-0 vote on Tuesday.

However, the unanimous decision arose only after more negotiations and concessions by both parties during the June 14 session.

In particular, the developer Merlone Geier Partners (MGP) gave up park credits for the green space in the project and agreed to work with the bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee about changes to the internal traffic circulation.

Council agreed to developers condition of whichever is greater—10 units of below market apartments (BMR) at 65 percent of the county's annual median income or compliance with the city's BMR ordinance at time of issuance of the certificate of occupancy.

"I think this is a good start. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty damn good," said Councilwoman Laura Macias before the vote. "We can continue to micromanage this as we have done or we can move forward. We have a developer who wants to develop and that’s good. There are communities where there is no development going on."

Councilman John Inks recused himself from proceedings and vote because he owns real property within 500 feet of the San Antonio Center Precise Plan.

Michael Grehl, vice president of MGP, shared his excitement after the vote and said they couldn't "wait to move forward." He stated that demolition and construction would be ready to start next month.

"We'll let Council drive the tractors through the walls on demolition day," he said.

According to Grehl, who attended the International Council of Shopping Center's convention in Las Vegas last month, retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, the Apple Store and restaurants like Houston's, have shown interest in tenancy at the San Antonio Shopping Center.

"It's a great location. The area has great demographics. It's a great corner that connects several communities," he said. "Everyone wants to be here."

The council also adopted the 2011-12 $90.7 million budget for the General Operating Fund, with the exclusion–from the proposed budget–of the complementary ticket facility fee for the Center for the Performing Arts.

Councilwoman Macias praised the budget adoption process because "the process works and continues to work." 

Councilman Tom Means agreed. "For the most part, this shows that cities can be responsible," he said in comparison to a city like San Jose with a $100 million deficit. In context, "we are pretty good. We are going to pass a budget on time."

In addition to the operating funds budget, the total amount of monies from all funds and agencies–such as the Shoreline Regional Park Community, the Mountain View Revitalization Authority and Capital Improvements Financing Authority–that the city will manage is $232.2 million.

Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis of Tuesday's San Antonio Shopping Center vote on Patch!

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