Movie theater proposed for San Antonio shopping center | News | Palo Alto Online |


Movie theater proposed for San Antonio shopping center


Developer Merlone Geier has significantly revised its proposal for phase two at San Antonio Shopping Center to include an eight-screen movie theater to go with a hotel and office building.

"There's certainly a lot of demand for a theater," said Mike Grehl, Merlone Geier vice president. "There are multiple theater operators that are interested."

Plans show the theater on the upper levels of a building on California Street next to the Milk Pail market, which would remain, along with two restaurants and an office building on the corner of California and San Antonio Road. A large parking garage sits behind it.

The proposal for 4 acres at California Street and San Antonio Road is part of phase two for the Village at San Antonio. The site is now home to Ross and BevMo!, which will be razed. Merlone Geier is nearly finished building phase one on 16 acres at El Camino Real And San Antonio Road, with a new shops, restaurants, 330 apartments and a new Safeway that opens April 19.

Merlone Geier has bought and proposes to demolish the buildings nearby that housed Barron Park Plumbing Supply and the International Halal Market at 391 San Antonio Road. The market was once home to the historic Shockley laboratory where silicon computer chip technology was first developed.

The new proposal for phase two moves a hotel from California Street inward and sets it next to a park on the Hetch-Hetchy right of way, reducing its height from 11 stories -- which council members balked at -- to seven stories. Heights elsewhere in the project now range from four to six stories.

The project's numerous parking garage spaces have been moved away from the street frontage on San Antonio Road and California Street, a design that drew complaints for making the street less pedestrian-friendly. There is now ground-floor retail, restaurant and commercial space throughout the second phase and along both California Street and San Antonio Road. There are also additional driveways and paths running east-west through the project, including one that runs behind the Milk Pail and the movie theater parallel to California Street.

There are 500,000 square feet of office in the upper floors of the two buildings along San Antonio Road. One tenant could lease all of it, or the space could be configured for small startups that need as little as 5,000 square feet, Grehl said.

Though reduced in height, the 165-room hotel retains a similar number of rooms as in previous plans. Grehl said the quality of the hotel would be equivalent to the Sheraton in Palo Alto, a first for Mountain View.

The remaining two-thirds of the shopping center is not yet proposed for redevelopment. It is "encumbered with long-term leases" for stores like Walmart and Kohls, Grehl said. "The rest of the shopping center is more than likely to stay the same for quite some time."

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Like this comment
Posted by Not-Sure-About-This
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2013 at 9:44 am

When the Old Mill was operating near by, there was a large theater as a part of the complex. But with so much video available on-line these days, delivered to your laptop, tablet and/or smartphone--got to wonder if an old-style movie theater is the best use of land.

Movie theaters generally are traffic producers. Not certain that adding thousands of additional car-trips to that general area is really such a good idea.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

Love the idea of a movie theater here. It is much easier to ride a bike to San Antonio for kids than Shoreline. Also, with popular movies, Shoreline is often sold out.

Kids need more hangout places that are local and easy to bike to, and this is a good start.

Like this comment
Posted by Kim Murray
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

Love the idea of a movie theater - and other suggestions for entertainment, such as a bowling alley. We have too many homes and not enough entertainment in this area. Yeah!

Like this comment
Posted by ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

A film theater would be great there. We lost so many film venues when video came online, but now value to communities of a film theater is much better understood. Cities in the Bay Area (orinda, alemeda, oakland, others) have partnered with private sector to bring theaters back - they are known to enrich, literally and figuratively, a community. Lots of people go to movie houses because the experience cannot be duplicated at home on a small screen with a couple of people.

Theater traffic is often most during off-rush hours - evenings and weekends. To assert there will be thousands of added car trips is just wrong.

I mix of film genres would be smart, and room sizes. So called mainline films alongside indy and foreign language films would be a rich mix attracting more people.

And it is a money maker for a community. Go for it!

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Posted by Paly Parent x3
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 14, 2013 at 10:55 am

Wow ~ Movie theater... Great news. Can't wait! There will be great places to eat dinner before the movie starts. Fantastic!

Like this comment
Posted by More Retail
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2013 at 11:00 am

More development is always a good thing for south Palo Alto and Mountain View. It raises property values and makes for savings in fuel for car trips. Happy to see that the outdated buildings are being phased out. It's about time; we are in the 21st century and this prime real estate area is not a historical park!

Like this comment
Posted by Yes on movie theater
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 14, 2013 at 11:02 am

Definitely not enough movie theaters nearby, so we're definitely hoping it comes true. The whole traffic argument is stupid. If there is no traffic generated, then a retail area is a failure.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

This development keeps getting better and better! Mountain View must be thrilled.
They also have made rapid progress on what is clearly a major development with fancy finishes. The movie theatres will be excellent! I think the Safeway is slated to open pretty soon - should be a nice one (I am a longtime patron of the current Safeway on nearby California Avenue that will move the contents and workers over to this new one).
I get the sense that this is a fine quality development that manages to avoid the sort of phoniness and pseudo-high-endedness of Santana Row down near Valley Fair, and this is fortunate.I can really see using this new center in a multitude of ways (yes, I will be coming over from Palo Alto).

Like this comment
Posted by AAAA
a resident of Monroe Park
on Mar 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

I'd like to see an upscale bowling alley, on par with Bowlmor Lanes at Vallco.

Now that Palo Alto Bowl is gone, the options for bowling are limited and inconvenient.

Like this comment
Posted by cid4houses
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm

It would be a community benefit if at least one theater could be rented out for community meetings or pesentations by smaller groups during off-hours for regular movie goers.
Just my input.
I tend to agree with the video-on-demand issues that make me wonder how much longer into the future "Going to a movie" will be economically viable. On the other hand, there is nothing that comparesvto seeing some action movies on the "big screen". My parents took me to see BEN HUR in the theaterwhen I wasc10, and I still remember that charriot race scene!

Like this comment
Posted by visiting from
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

It's a lot more fun to go to the movies when there are cafes & shops nearby, as in San Mateo & Redwood City, for pre & post show options. Shoreline & the now-closed multiplex east of 101 in Redwood City just let viewers sit in traffic jams after a show. The Old Mill theater was in an enclosed shopping center with restaurants, bars, etc & was demolished to build the condo complex there now.

When the theaters are near residential areas, people walk to the shows & linger nearby before or after. Adds vibrancy to the area. It won't trigger "thousands of additional car trips"....

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

We quickly got the typical response from a plao alto resident ( not sure about that)-- immediately complain about too much traffic. Meanwhile palo alto has almost zero int the way of useful shopping, while mountain view will soon have a giant shopping center.
Build the movie theatre by all means.

Like this comment
Posted by Henry
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

More money leaving Palo Alto. Other than eating out a couple times a week, I spend all my money in Mt View, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park.

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Posted by Bess of Hardwicke
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I love the idea of theaters closer than Shoreline! I hope it really happens. Problem is, I seem to go to Mtn View for most things these days. For the rest I go to Menlo Park. Palo Alto is just too expensive and the choices too limited (except for restaurants). So again, more Palo Altans are spending their tax dollars elsewhere, and PA gets no benefit from that. No wonder there is such a high turnover of shops and stores here. No buyers, no business.

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm

If you’re concerned about this humongous development and its impact on schools, traffic, services, water, the environment, etc. please sign this petition. You need not be a Mountain View resident.

Web Link (Scroll down. Petition is in the right column.)

For an article concerning the development, see "San Antonio area growth prompts residents to ask city to slow down" at
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Pat-- why should residents of other cities have a say in what mountain view does? Would palo,alto accept petitions from other cities? But more importantly, why has this group waited until now to circulate a petition? Phase 1 is in the works and the city has been in discussions for a couple of years withe developer over phase 2. This has not been a secret, so why now?

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