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San Antonio center to include Mountain View's tallest building?

Original post made on May 24, 2012

New plans for a large hotel and office building at San Antonio shopping center were met with more shock than support in a planning commission meeting last week.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 24, 2012, 4:36 PM

Comments (37)

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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on May 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Barron Park Plumbing Supply is a fantastic resource in this area. The world can live with one less Sears store, but pushing out these small business is out of the question.


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Posted by rainbow38
a resident of Mountain View
on May 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

The height of proposed buildings needs to be seriously looked at. Tall buildings block light and create "canyons". If one is allowed, more are sure to follow. Eventually, there will be no view in Mountain View and many other locations.


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Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on May 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

The Milk Pail will also be a victim. Please stop and think. When they did this in Harrow, England the entire look and feel of a village and local specialty shops was destroyed and in fact the area died.No one wanted to go there because parking became a problem, only the same junky major stores moved in and replicated what you already had elsewhere. Beware of the Wooden Horse syndrone.

How many hotels do we need? There are 2 going in on ECR already


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Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

If it's true about these small businesses possibly being forced/bullied out that is so incredibly sad -- it is also inexcusable. And putting up a fence that meant businesses lost income for three days!!! When developers come up with these ideas they positively need to be monitored every step of the way by the city government -- from conception to completion. They also need to be accountable to the public and be WILLING TO LISTEN AND ADAPT to community suggestions. A developer's primary intention is mainly to make more money -- right? They should NEVER forget that what they do has a long-lasting effect on MANY OTHERS. Thankfully there is a press to report on these things. May the press never stop searching for the TRUTH and getting it to the public!!!


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Posted by Greed and Corruption
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on May 25, 2012 at 11:03 am

Developers have learned to say that the project itself is a "Public Benefit." Greg Scharff on City Council also said it about the monster building on Alma Street.
Greed and corruption rule.
>Gilman said, "The four-star hotel, the idea that we are creating what we see as a very pedestrian-oriented environment, a sense of place and high-quality restaurant
Is Bernie Madoff an investor?


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Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

Thank you, Alice, for your comment.
What you said is so very, very true.


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Posted by Milk Pale Shopper
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Hurray for the Milk Pale!!!! Hang in there, we're behind you all the way!!!


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Posted by MilkPail option
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Perhaps the Milk Pail can be moved somewhere nearby, to at least keep the Milk Pail.


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Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

It would be a shame if any business had to close just to accomodate the developers -- and if they did move to accomodate them, they would have to find a good location that was also affordable. Sometimes moving equals more rent -- and then moving may not be an option.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Maybe I'm missing something but what is wrong with a tall building in the middle of a non-residential area. It happens all over the world, but not here?

That said, the developer of this project is obviously trying to force the small businesses on the corner of California and San Antonio out of business using any method - legal or not.


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Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

rem is a registered user.

NO = NO - NO - NO - NO - NO - NO = NO - NO - NO - NO - NO - NO = NO - NO - NO - NO - NO - NO = NO - NO - NO - NO - NO - NO = NO - NO - NO - NO - NO -

Hopefully the City and Planning will learn a new WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Posted by Floyd
a resident of Green Acres
on May 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm

...and the traffic???
How gross can they be?


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Posted by Dweller
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm

So much for Mountain "View"... Perhaps we should re-name our city "Obstructed View"


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Downtown North
on May 26, 2012 at 12:17 am

Looks like they've ignored the existing intersections and put entrances in random places. Isn't the traffic flow going to be ridiculous? Maybe they don't really care about retail at all.


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Mountain View
on May 26, 2012 at 7:19 am

Why do so many have the opinion that no matter what residents want, developers will get their way and residents will be brushed aside?

"money doesn't talk it swears". BD

Developers have one goal. Profit. Expect all proposals that would enhance Mountain View to be whittled away as they encroach on profits. Expect lofty promises to be turned upside down and reversed at the last minute because those promises were only a ploy in the first place and profits must come first or there is no point for the developer.

Any plan for creating all the new rainfall needed for all the new residence?
Any idea what to do with the added 2. 3 cars per family?
Any plan to capture rain water, use gray water or heat water with the sun?
Can't really look at any of these long range sustainability plans without seriously messing up the profit needed to motivate developers.

So if we pretend there is no water problem, no congestion problem, no energy problem and if we could all learn to prefer tastefully designed walls over boring old mountains, it's really a fine proposal.


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Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on May 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

Traffic in that area is already a nightmare. I used to zip over there early on Saturday mornings to do errands but now I have to allow a lot more time to get there and back - even at 7 or 8 am it's nuts. Think what the addition of these planned high rises will do to the area!!


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Midtown
on May 26, 2012 at 10:14 am

I hope we don't lose Barron Park Plumbing Supply! Not only do I go there when I need something, knowing they will have it, plus good advice, but whenever I have a plumber here, and they need something, they always say they will run over to Barron Park Plumbing Supply and get it. I hope they will find a new location if they get forced out.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on May 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Let's look at the bright side: This would make the JCC look like a mole hill.

As for traffic, all the new residents will ride the buses in the new VTA bus lanes on El Camino.


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Posted by marlene
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm

YIKES, I would be heartbroken if we lose the Milk Pail.

And what about the traffic on San Antonio? It will turn into a parking lot.

It doesn't sound too bike friendly either.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Let's use some sense in planning and complaining.

Putting a tall building on this block is not such a bad idea. Where else is any better. There are no homes to be blocked or shadowed in this area. It is not a downtown area where a lot of people walk or hang out. It can probably be done well and without destroying the basic character of the shopping center. After all there is a tall building over there by Chili's that is hardly even noticeable.


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Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Mountain View
on May 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Anon., there are homes within 150' of these proposed monstrosities. The Crossings neighborhood is directly across from this site. This proposal is way out of character compared to the pedestrian oriented homes there.

This proposal is not appropriate for this area. It is too big and provides no benefit to the adjacent residents. It is just a plan to make as much money for the developer as possible. It is not allowed per the current precise plan and the heights are way beyond the permitted maximum.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I shop both with Barron Park Plumbing and with Milk Pail. I hope that the management of both have developed plans for relocation. I think a 25 or 50 story building would be a nice attraction.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Bikes2work:
> there are homes within 150' of these proposed monstrosities.

Where?

That whole area is cheap apartments condos, which are high density, and just because they within 150' of the borderline does not mean they will be affected or even in view of a large building. A few large buildings in buffered areas are fine with me.

As long as no one lives under a shadow of a gigantic structure and gets no sun, that is what we ought to avoid. Here in Palo Alto we have trees that will block the sun and warmth in places … no one seems to object to that.


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Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Mountain View
on May 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I'm looking out the window of my single-family detached Crossings house right now at the sun that would be blocked by these proposed towers.


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Posted by nearby
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2012 at 12:22 am

Terry - Actually, we could really use a useful department store like Sears, with tools, gardening supplies, clothing, baby things (haven't had a good baby store nearby forever), etc. The old one was not exactly the most attractive, but it had a Land's End store and inexpensive kids' dress clothing and uniforms, a decent-priced photo studio, etc.

I don't think there are any plans to put back anything nearly as useful as a Sears there, is there? I use Barron Plumbing, too, and would not like to see it go, either.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 27, 2012 at 8:04 am

> Posted by Bikes2work, a resident of Mountain View, 12 hours ago
> I'm looking out the window of my single-family detached Crossings house right now at the sun that would be blocked by these proposed towers.

OK, the Palo Alto Online website says that you posted this 12 hours ago … presumably about 8pm. At that angle of the sun at 8pm it is pretty near sunset which today is listed as 8:19pm. A large tree could do the same thing.

No one said that nobody in all circumstances should be affected by this or any other building, but it is not unreasonable that someone is going to see a shadow when the sun in low in the sky near sunset. Also at that angle your light is going to be blocked by the existing buildings over there, the old Albertsons or new Safeway, whatever it is going to be.


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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Why is Barron Park Plumbing Supply in Mountain View? Why aren't they in Barron Park?


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Posted by Choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I am upset that big developers are allowed to push the little guy around. Barron Park Plumbing Supply has been a life saver several times for me because they had the rare part or tool we couldn't find at OSH or Home Depot. If they go where will I find the rare part or tool?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2012 at 8:57 am

Another armchair builder here, if I was in charge of this project, I would buy those buildings, not to throw out the businesses. I would keep them build the hotel, office and retail project next door, with the amount of loyal and future loyal customers spending time and money. It is not just money but being able to support small businesses which supports jobs, other small businesses, and being the back bone of our communties.


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Posted by Caroline
a resident of Mountain View
on May 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I live in the housing complex next to San Antonio shopping center. I have the feeling that they are trying to cram way to much on that site. I am afraid that the view of the mountains from my bedroom and kitchen will be obstructed by the tall buildings. What worries me the most is the traffic congestion that it will bring. I drive by the shopping center on my way to work, I will likely have to use another route. As a resident, I don't think that office buildings and a hotel will bring value to my home and quality of life in this neighborhood. I would have hoped for nice quality retail and restaurants. I would be quite upset if we lost Milk Pail. I would be glad to see Walmart go, on the other hand. It is sad that the developers bully small businesses but don't pressure that eye sore of Walmart - and all that they stand for - out of there.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

> I am afraid that the view of the mountains from my bedroom and kitchen will be obstructed by the tall buildings.

You mean like the views of the people on the other side of Alma were obstructed by the building of the Crossings and housing on the old site of the Old Mill?

That's progress … or that is supposed to be reasonable progress. Nothing is perfect, and you should still have some view, those mountains are pretty big and stretch for quite a ways on the skyline.


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Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Mountain View
on May 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Anon. I posted about the sunlight angle at 7:10pm. There would be well over an hour of sunlight lost. I already have mature trees along California Street that nicely block just the right amount of sunshine. The light dances around the kitchen floor when the branches sway. The second floor bedrooms get full sunlight at that hour as the cats watch the birds outside the window.

Why so bitter? Did the University Circle/Four Seasons Hotel in the old Whiskey Gulch area block your view of Highway 101? I'm not looking forward to a similar development across from my street.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm

> Why so bitter?

Surely you jest … I'm "bitter" because you want to stop a whole development so sunlight can dance on your kitchen floor? LOL. Get a sunlamp.

Maybe you don't know where Crescent Park is or maybe you do, but I think the "clever" insult about Whiskey Gulch seems bitter.

Obviously you are so important you should be housed in a palace where building can interfere with you and your cat's important silliness? I think Versailles is currently unoccupied, maybe you can live there your majesty.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Merlone Geier has already maxed out new construction, with the Carmel Village project, which has a hazard, on the walkway, as a small trap-door, which sinks, on the Trader Joe's direction, so a pedestrian walking toward Starbuck's/San Antonio Road trips, to pitch forward, breaking a wrist.

No amount of cautioning has produced a repair, yet.

Merlone Geier doesn't need to trash our neighborhood, to build an ambiguous construction, for its profiteering, which would send the Milk Pail away, right as bubbles are about to break, and any new construction should happen down past Springer Road, where an old motel was just demolished.

We don't need any more of Merlone G's punk construction, in our neighborhood. Get down the road, where there's a lot of room, right on El Camino Real.

I bought some $2.99 gorgonzola, in a tub, at Milk Pail, this morning. Tomorrow I want some fresh spinach and tomatoes, cheap.


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Posted by Near neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

When they talk about a 167 ft structure, they do not include all the infrastructure that goes on the roof of these tall buildings i.e. heating and cooling duct work, water pipes and generators etc. They will probably be allowed an additional 10 ft to include equipment that must go on top of the roof line.

An example of height is the JCC at East Charleston and San Antonio Road. They were allowed to build an additional 12 ft. above the 50 ft. height limit to 62 ft. Under present building codes in Palo Alto you are permitted an extra 10 ft. for heating equipment and duct work etc., so that building ended up at nearly 70 ft tall.


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Posted by midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I guess Anon is ok with having views and sunlight taken away and eventually have to move underground.

This is just the thin end of the wedge. The same story is being repeated in every city - Developers influence city councils to give them variances on the zoning that sets limits on heights and densities with promises of dubious "public benefits" that are over-promised and under-delivered. Traffic studies are fixed by giving the job to the same joint that gave a favourable review last time. Citizens pleas are ignored like they were setback rules :). When it is all done, the developer leaves the local residents to deal with the in-your-face buildings, lack of light and views and jam-packed streets to go buy a nice single-story sprawling house on a 2 acre lot in Los Altos hills where the residents would never allow any structure remotely resembling the monstrosity that is being planned here.


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Posted by Don't be such a hypoctite
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 30, 2013 at 12:17 pm

@Alice,
Maybe they should put a few units of senior housing on it, then you'll be happy to force whatever the developers want down everyone else's throats.


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