A new round of large-scale demolition and construction is under way at San Antonio Center as part of a long-planned second phase of The Village mixed-use development.
Expected to be finished by late 2017, the project will bring a hotel, upscale movie theater and nearly 400,000 square feet of new office space to the shopping center at the corner of El Camino Real and San Antonio Road. Along with those plans, the project will also feature enough commercial space for about 30 new shops and restaurants, creating a "true mixed-use environment," according to David Geiser, managing design director at Merlone Geier Partners.
"We're teed up to provide a great development for the community," Geiser said.
Demolition has already begun on a row of buildings along San Antonio Road, including the International Halal Market and the Barron Park Plumbing Supply sites. The unassuming-looking market was the former site of Shockley Semiconductor a seminal, albeit unsuccessful, business credited with kicking off the silicon chip industry in the South Bay and considered by many to be the true birthplace of Silicon Valley. As of now, the only mark left of the former building is a signpost mounted years ago summarizing the history of the Shockley site.
As part of their plans, Geiser said the finished development would include a variety of silicon-transistor-themed artwork as well as a plaque and photos to commemorate the Shockley building.
In the coming weeks, the Shockley site will become a 40-foot-deep crater as construction crews begin a massive excavation effort for an office building. The planned building will house five stories of new offices along with four levels of subterranean parking.
Some longstanding businesses at San Antonio will also be making way for the transformation. The discount department store Ross is planning to move north to relocate near the Costco shopping center off Rengstorff Avenue, Geiser said. Liquor store BevMo! will relocate to a new site across the street on El Camino Real.
For the most part, it remains unclear exactly what new shops will will be moving into the second phase of The Village development, but one committed tenant does stand out. A Chicago-based movie theater chain, Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON, announced plans last week to open a 10-auditorium complex at San Antonio. The movie theaters are being promoted as luxury entertainment, featuring recliner seats and VIP levels that can be reserved in advance. Along with the usual movie theater trappings, the ICON complex will also include a gourmet bistro and full bar.
Through the construction, one of the few things that will remain unchanged is the Milk Pail Market. Store owner Steve Rasmussen described his shop as an "island" amid the rapid change. He said he had assurances his store would be provided enough parking through the construction. The construction may cause occasional access issues for the store, but he was confident the Milk Pail would persevere.
"The challenge for us will be living through a couple years of remarkable construction in our neighborhood," he said. "We're already planning our promotions: bulldozer bananas and contractor cucumber sales. I haven't figured one out yet for the big dig."
More cranes and work trucks could be on the horizon for the San Antonio shopping center. In recent months, Maryland-based developer Federal Realty acquired 33 acres on the southern side of the commercial block, giving it ownership of Trader Joe's, Walmart, Kohl's and more than two-dozen other businesses. The company, best known as the owner of Santana Row in San Jose, has yet to publicly disclose its plans for the Mountain View site.