News

Big changes afoot at San Antonio Center

Construction begins on upscale movie theater, hotel, shops

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.

Comments

28 people like this
Posted by Kibitzer
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 1, 2015 at 6:26 pm

There are many ramifications that result from the San Antonio development. In the end, I find it exciting. To change a suburban box store and strip mall concept into a dense urban environment is a necessary change to our local world. Population growth cannot be stopped, nor do we want that. It is best to centralize the growth to minimize the transportation needs, and maximize the convenience of the inhabitants. The San Antonio Center will be sandwiched between the train, and the improved bus lines on El Camino that VTA is proposing, and provide living and work needs for 1000's of people (or more).
I wish Palo Alto could also get over every little impediment to change. Can you imagine if our City Council has to spend time for a homeowner who might be shadowed by new construction, even though they live in such a multi-use zone? How is the city to make progress if every resident consumes every resource?
Our commercial centers must grow, our transportation must improve. Arguing over building height or shape is preventing the quality of life we all want, by distracting our leaders from the big issues.
It is not the destiny of Palo Alto to remain stationary in time. I hope our residents understand that.


55 people like this
Posted by Bad city planning
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 1, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Existing roads do not have the capacity to carry the load of this monstrous development.


35 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 1, 2015 at 6:39 pm

They took 1 story suburban shopping mall and turned it into a 1 story suburban shopping center with a few floors of apartments on top. It isn't dense, it isn't urban, it isn't close to either Mountain view or Palo Alto's core. No real urbanist would approve, let alone get excited. Only a developer could crack smile over this.


46 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2015 at 7:05 pm

We really hate what is happening to the San Antonio Shopping Center. The current layout is a maze of roads and parking lots. Sidewalks are haphazard and discontinuous. Marked crosswalks are too infrequent and dangerous and often hidden by adjacent buildings and parked cars. Why couldn't they have made a standard shopping mall with a large pedestrian-safe car-free area?


16 people like this
Posted by Kibitzer
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 1, 2015 at 7:22 pm

I agree with Mr Recycle and resident. What has been built so far is disappointing. My point is change and development is inevitable (and happening quickly). Complaining about the impact is either obvious or hopeless. The best is to insist on proper urban development, and forcing our city to act on transportation improvements (no one else can do this, and to fight development is a loosing battle) The article mentioned 33 acres of box stores are now owned by the developers of Santana Row. I hope this means good things can happen.
What is our city doing??


20 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm

All that retail and I wonder if any of it will be useful.

Do we need more upscale jewelers and mattress stores?

I like the mix we had, we miss Sears, the shoe store, the sports store. CVS and Burger King were also places we frequented on a regular basis.

Do we expect this to turn into another Stanford Shopping Center or Town & Country?


22 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm

400,000 square feet more of office space??? That's how many new workers/commuters for ABAG to count as they push us for even more housing density to support increased office workers?

And they're pushing BevMo across the street. What about the other stores in the complex? What else is being pushed out?


39 people like this
Posted by Too Many People
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm

All the development without infrastructure improvements is disgusting.

Voters are mostly to blame.


50 people like this
Posted by Mikey
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Personally, I think its cool. The new development has been really great so far. Pacific Catch is really good. I like the dog park. [Portion removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Santana Row is trippy. It's an urban island of upscale shops and restaraunts. Lucklily there are some practical and bargain places like H&M but ultimately it's popular and that's what really counts. It's fun to sit outside and have a glass if wine or coffee and watch people. It is weird, but it works. Maybe take a road trip and check it out.


13 people like this
Posted by green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Ah, yes, we are another sprawling Los Angeles.


14 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

@Kibitzer: You are making assumptions others would not: "Population growth cannot be stopped, nor do we want that. It is best to centralize the growth to minimize the transportation needs, and maximize the convenience of the inhabitants."

Some do believe we can and should limit population growth in our town, most especially when the infrastructure is not there to support it. Our schools are beyond capacity, we are running out of land, and the roads in Palo Alto have become the source of traffic-clogged smog belts. And then there's the drought.

To assume that building apartments, office buildings, and retail in the same space will decrease transportation needs is not supported by the facts. Yes, some residents can walk to Safeway, but obviously many do not -- the parking lot is a mess. Yes, residents and office workers can take CalTrain rather than drive, but studies don't support this happening. Most who commute on CalTrain drive to the station.

I see no real upside to this development. As one person wrote, how many upscale jewelry and mattress stores do we need?


10 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Old San Antonio Center the part with Sears, Woolworth, Rite Aid was build as a giant strip mall but wasn't all that great for walking. Over the years it was built like a maze with a building put up here, parking lots scattered, outdoor mall like structure with more parking lots, 6 story building facing El Camino, gas stations, banks and restaurants scattered over a large area. Nothing made sense expect in some cases you drove from one part to another part.

Think Kohl's and then walk over to Burger King for lunch.

Wal Mart has been effecting Sears and other retailers for years. So now we have a mattress store in SA Center in which in the early 70's. Jewelry stores have been in this center before.

The roads need to be fix and transit needs to be improved which is needs to be done like ASAP. Don't get all NIMBY.


16 people like this
Posted by Bad Devwloper, No Biscuit
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm

The developer made it clear from the start that he wanted to make San Antonio another Santana Row--no one did anything to try and stop it.

Still, phase one was really quite enough given the limitations of the surrounding roads. Phase two is completely unnecessary, but Merlone-Geier is greedy and can't stop. [Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by At the movies
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Love the plans for the new movie theater at San Antonio! Currently we have to drive either to Shoreline or Redwood City to catch a new release.


22 people like this
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I think it's a huge improvement over the tired, old beat down shopping center it replaced.

@Mikey Hahahahahahahahaha:)


7 people like this
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Barron Park Plumbing is being demolished? Anyone know if they're moving someplace else. They are often the last hope to find things to make repairs.


2 people like this
Posted by @Sylvia
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

The internet can be a help in these situations, Sylvia:

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Tool Man
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm

@Sylvia
Barron Park Supply moved out quite a while ago. They are currently on El Camino, south of Castro St.


27 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Oh, goodie. Lots more office space because we need to pack more commuting bodies into the area.

I can't imagine their designs will be any more intelligent than phase I.

The entry into the shopping center at the light on San Antonio is a narrow two lanes, one of which seems to be invariably blocked by a parked truck loading or unloading(because that makes for intelligent traffic management).

Just another sign that education isn't anymore. Tunnel vision at its finest.


13 people like this
Posted by Keep it up MV
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Many of you may not realize but this shopping center is in mountain view. So, rightly so, palo alto,residents should nothing to say about it. When Palo Alto builds a shopping center, then all the above posters can give their input.
I look forward to the new editions and I think the new portions that are open are great. Palo,alto residents just need to complain about something


4 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Keep it up MV - Maybe this development is actually relevant to a lot of people in Palo Alto who shop there, some of whom live a block away.


10 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Slow down-- what part of Palo Alto is a block away from San Antonio center? I agree Palo Alto residents should have no input whatsoever in MV matters. Does Palo Alto ask for MV and MP input before they build near their borders?


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

@ Resident: You do realize that CVS is right across the street on the corner of SAR and ECR?


3 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Agenda - Anyone from mountain view or or Los Altos is welcome to post here, right? This is a Palo Alto news site, with a story they wrote, presumably of interest to people who live in Palo Alto. The editors could close comments on the story if they want.

The west side of San Antonio, one block north of the center is Palo Alto. Go west one block on Miller from the shopping center, and you are in Palo Alto - Monroe Park.


4 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Slow down-- of course anyone can post here, but as far as real input into what happens at San Antonio center, that is for MV residents only,
If you go 1 block west on miller, you will hit del medio avenue, which is in mountain view. You need to take a quick left on del medio and then a right to return to miller, which if you go for another block or so you will be in Palo Alto.


6 people like this
Posted by Michael O.
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 2, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Michael O. is a registered user.

Didn't the businesses fail at San Antonio before? Sears didn't leave because it was making money there. I know people don't like change and have a lot to say about new developments, but isn't there a need for both housing and successful businesses? Does anyone think that housing would be unaffordable for all but the most rich in this area because there is a glut of it?


1 person likes this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 2, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Agenda - Palo Alto residents don't vote in Mountain View, but there is no reason that they can't discuss or complain or support development, especially as it may affect them (mainly traffic in this case). If Mv wanted to put an airport there, you would say palo alto should have no input?

As to the border, the houses on the corner of Del Medio are MV. The first house on the left past Del Medio is PA, the second on the right is PA. So it is one block, then walk past two houses to the Palo Alto border.


1 person likes this
Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 2, 2015 at 10:14 pm

When you park in the Safeway lot, you see straight into peoples homes. It is particularly noticeable at night (early evening in the winter time).
The people who designed this and pushed the project through should try living there.


9 people like this
Posted by Traffic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Personally, I don't care what Mt. View does, except for how it affects Palo Alto.

Palo Alto and Mt. View share San Antonio Road as a main artery from 101. The traffic on San Antonio is already excessive, backing up all the way to 101 in the evening rush hour. This development, like the proposed hotels in Palo Alto, will add a lot more traffic, which impacts Palo alto more than Mt. View, since Mt. View has the Rengstorff exit that probably most residents use rather than San Antonio.

>> "40-foot-deep crater as construction crews begin a massive excavation effort for an office building."

And how much ground water will this development suck out of the ground of both Mt. View and Palo ALto (as well as Los Altos)?

I think Palo Alto residents have plenty of reasons to complain about, and protest, this development.


7 people like this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:46 am

Sparty is a registered user.

> The entry into the shopping center at the light on San Antonio is a narrow two lanes, one of which seems to be invariably blocked by a parked truck loading or unloading(because that makes for intelligent traffic management).


If only there were four more entrances on San Antonio.

Oh wait- there are.


4 people like this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:47 am

Sparty is a registered user.

>The developer made it clear from the start that he wanted to make San Antonio another Santana Row--no one did anything to try and stop it.

Clearly you haven't been paying attention


8 people like this
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:35 am

SteveU is a registered user.

At least they put it AT the Bus (VTA) hub (which is on the Walmart side).
Cal Train is not that far away.

I remember the howls of outrage when the ripped out the old food courts to build the section that is now has Trader Joes.

Things change. The location was getting tired and very little was being done to keep it fresh (Like Stanford Shopping Center)
Mountain Views El Camino is getting refreshed, which might prevent it becoming a faded urban blight.


5 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2015 at 10:55 am

San Antonio Center is a regional shopping center in which the owner builds to attract tenants and shoppers from area like Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, the Hills, oh of course Mountain View. Stanford Shopping Center attracts people from all over and so does Valley Fair.

In this crazy world of texting, driving, running errands, how does one find time to look into windows. A trip to the fabric store or curtain store will fix having your world open to the masses.


1 person likes this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

When one city creates development at the border of another, we can only hope they would have sense enough to work together on the implications of the project.

I go to San Antonio Center on occasion, but avoid it because the traffic flow and parking configurations are kind of a pain. Additionally, the roof parking for Safeway is scary after dark -- sometimes they have someone there for security, but sometimes not. I left before parking one evening because a person was lurking around the lot and no one else was around; it just didn't seem safe and not worth taking a chance.

Developing the property is a given, but how it is done will effect residents for many years to come. The worst culprits in this kind of development are high density offices -- they produce infinitely more commuters, deliveries, and traffic pollution than do residents or stores. A casual look at the traffic and parking patterns around current high-density office areas vs. those around shopping centers is telling.


6 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:35 am

Office buildings near a train station which seems to make sense. Office buildings go dark in the evening and weekends.


Like this comment
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:41 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Palo Altos border is over a block away (end of Miller at De Medio) from that center

Monroe on the East side of ECR
The creek near the Cabanna Border there is Los Altos)


6 people like this
Posted by Life Style
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm

It's handy living above the place you work. I have done that before on a much smaller scale and it was kind of nice.

Imagine.. walking work, shopping for groceries and etc in one location. You might not even need a car. When going out of town ... there is the bus, train, and car rental to the east just down the road. Sounds very practical.


6 people like this
Posted by Traffic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Whether Palo Alto is one block or four blocks away is irrelevant - Palo Alto is severely impacted by the traffic mess that already exists on San Antonio Road. According to the city's traffic assessment made available at last Saturday's summit at Mitchell Park Community Center, San Antonio was at 110% capacity as of late last year.

Who in their right mind would add more traffic without figuring out the implications to the whole community?


2 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Slow down-- as I stated, you and other palo,alto residents are free to discuss, complain and support development anywhere they want to. However th decision rests with MV residents. Hope that is clearer the second time around.
Oh, and BTW, the airport analogy is completely unrealistic and bogus.

traffic-- is there more traffic now than there was at the old San Antonio center? Please provide us with the numbers from years past and the present. Are you really suggesting that palo.alto should have say in what happens to San Antonio center? Did palo,alto ask MV what they thought before they built the JCC. Will they ask for MV input before they build the two Marriot hotels on San Antonio road.


10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Does anyone in our esteemed transportation and planning departments think about traffic patterns like how traffic is supposed to get to/from 101

Look at the access roads/streets with exits to/from 101:

1) The city's about to start work on Charleston which is already backed up.

2) Embarcadero we know remains a disaster. (See perennial complaint about the Town & Country traffic light and gridlock.)

3) University's not exactly a speedy through road.

4) Now San Antonio's going to be even more gridlocked.

So what's the recommended route for commuters and residents to get to/from 101??


6 people like this
Posted by Luke
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm

The San Antonio development project is already creating terrible traffic congestion on San Antonio Road and on El Camino and only 'phase one' has been completed. I am shocked that the Mountain View city planners approved this monstrous development. The city already collects huge taxes from the numerous technology giants who operate in Mountain View: Unbridled development is destroying the quality of life in Mountain View.

The developers, Merlone Geier, must be held responsible. Of course they will profit from creating this beast of a development and then move on to their next 'big project'. We as a community must demand that the developers also improve pedestrian safety, upgrade the small and inadequate San Antonio Cal Train Station, improve the surrounding streets due to the heavy and ever- increasing traffic congestion and donate money to create more schools.

The developers, Merlone Geier, are motivated by only greed and don't have to live/work with the hideous structures they are building in our neighborhood.


5 people like this
Posted by Developer Borg Collective
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

@Kibitzer,
I think you could make your point much easier by saying just, "Resistance is futile"


9 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Luke - according to the new urbanists, density is the fix for traffic. Welp, reality strikes yet again. Let's not let density advocates get away with that lie anymore.


6 people like this
Posted by Developer Borg Collective
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

@john_alderman,
You are right. But that will happen only when Palo Alto residents truly organize and stay focused, not just on combating the overdevelopment, but on restoring healthy civic complexity to our City ecosystem.

The hard part is just getting the ball rolling, and leadership. Will you? If you can't please work on finding someone who will, that's how things hapoen.

I think Palo Alto residents should recall Kniss/the Developer Stooge Five in City Council (most if whom were engaged in the same practice of hiding their developer contributions during the election). Then residents should start using the initiative pricess to make changes to restore a high quality of life and make it harder for developers to destroy it.

What about an initiative to dedicate all tax revenues from the new hotel developments to residents, resident-serving services, and restoring civic amenities especially on this side of town and especially for youth, since no one can get anywhere anymore. Amenities should be more available all over town and not require driving north, the City Council have made that part if town effectively less accessible to other parts of town. (The word is"gridlock", and it diminishes choices.)

Resistance is futile. Decide to win against the Developer Borg Collective, or that's the choice.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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