MILK PAIL ENDURES ... Steve Rasmussen is filled with gratitude. As owner of Mountain View's Milk Pail Market for the past 42 years, he is painfully aware how close he was to losing his business at 2585 California St. With a massive construction project going on all around his small, open-air produce store, he can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Not only does it appear that Milk Pail will survive in the midst of the huge redevelopment of San Antonio Center, but it may even flourish -- the developer recently completed a new parking lot specifically for the market's customers.
Rasmussen stands proudly in the new lot. "Look at this. It is only here because of a profound desire of the community to make it happen," Rasmussen said, adding that he is also thankful to the developer who built the lot and who also owns the land the lot is on. The 31 parking spaces on the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street, replace two restaurants -- Oh My Sushi and Savor Mexico, both of which were razed as part of the redevelopment. As Rasmussen looks around at the ongoing construction, with two cranes towering more than 100 feet in the air, he says, "I'm a survivor. The pressures and the powers have been enormous. I've been immersed in this for five years, trying desperately to protect my business. It's been chaotic. Fortunately, Milk Pail was, and still is, a viable business."
Milk Pail's future neighbors will be a diverse mix. Along with several spots for retail and restaurants and a five-story office building with four levels of underground for parking is being built along San Antonio Road for LinkedIn, according to the center's tenant list. And a Hyatt hotel is taking shape in the middle of the construction site. Called Hyatt Centric, it is a newer brand of boutique hotel from Hyatt. Referred to on its website as a "full-service lifestyle hotel created for millennial-minded guests," the Hyatt Centric will offer a variety of unique services, such as a "Knock n' Drop" service, which allows guests to enjoy gourmet food in their rooms without formal delivery. There are also plans for a bar and restaurant area in the hotel. Another building under construction is an upscale, 10-screen, multilevel movie theater called ShowPlace Icon. The theater, which will have a cease-seating policy once a movie begins playing, will also employ ushers to help moviegoers locate their reserved seats. A second ShowPlace Icon theater complex is slated for Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in Santa Clara. Both theaters are expected to open in 2017.
So, while Milk Pail continues to persevere throughout all the noise, the dust and the temporary roadways, the old-fashioned market may begin to look strangely out of place once all the construction is finished. But Rasmussen is not fazed by this. "We are a funky business and plan to continue our funkiness. And remember, we were here first."
SWANKY HOTEL SLASHES RATES ... The intimate and posh Clement Hotel, 711 El Camino, Palo Alto, which opened three months ago and has only 23 suites, has adjusted its room rates, at least for summer stays. Opening rates in April were $800 a night, with an expectation at that time to soon raise that rate to $1,000 a night. That price was for an all-inclusive element not just meals and beverages, but fitness center, valet parking, personal assistants, gratuities and more. However, the current all-inclusive cost for a suite starts at $579 for weekdays and $429 for weekends, almost half the opening rate. "That's a smokin' hot deal," said hotel owner Clement Chen of the lower rates, noting that the prices are for single occupancy (an additional person is $150, and a 5 percent service charge is added to all room reservations). "We are trying to get the word out that The Clement Hotel is a great weekend 'staycation,' getaway..." Chen said, adding that the hotel's occupancy rate is building all the time. "Our guest mix is what we expected, and our reviews have been great. All of our guests have loved the hotel."