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Redevelopment planned for San Antonio center

Original post made on Feb 1, 2009

The Mountain View City Council approved a "gatekeeper" request last week that could lead to a massive revamp of San Antonio shopping center, possibly even bringing the spirit of San Jose's Santana Row to Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, February 1, 2009, 5:12 PM

Comments (35)

Posted by sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm

The most successful stores in that shopping center are the low-to-mid priced places like Trader Joes, Walmart, Daiso, and Target across the street. Creating a super-high-end boutique center will probably turn off their current customer base. The need to aim for more mid-range stores. The high flying times that let Santana Row get built are long gone.

Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm

They could certainly look at a "low range" Santana Row (which is too pricey for a large section of the community anyways ! )

With properly designed parking and traffic outlets, they can certainly use the space that is reserved for parking today.

Is there a web-site outlining the potential plans/usage?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Wonderful idea. All of us Palo Altans who can't afford Stanford will now have a wonderful place to shop in affordable stores. Great, lets spend all our tax dollars in Mountain View.

Posted by Me
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 2, 2009 at 1:49 am

San Antonio looks good to me.

I was in the Stanford Mall last week for the first time in three years. Good god!! What a pathetic place! It's become a paean to useless, expensive crap. Walking through Bloomingdales and coming on hunks of oddly sewn-together leather "purses" selling for $1500 and up made me laugh out loud. How much a ninny does someone have to be to buy something like that, at that price - even if they have the money? It's like walking through a cheap overpriced parade of useless, name brand junk. Maybe the next 'big one' will take the whole thing down at 3AM (so nobody gets hurt). What a waste! Imagine feeling good just because one bought something that gets put in a special name brand shopping bag, so everyone can "see". How juvenile!

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2009 at 4:02 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

It is one step from criticizing the frivolity of another's spending to empowering some politician to redirect that spending to more worthy uses. There lies the politician's best weapon - envy.
I would rather someone spend her money on a quirky purse than on a Sustainability Czar.

Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

San Antonio shopping center has always been a mess. The entrances and exits are a maze and the place was put together hodge podge over the years. It definitely needs an update but keep the reasonably priced stores. That's why we Palo Altans shop there!

Posted by cleanupMV!
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

I have been living in Mountain View for 23 years and it NEEDS a makeover. The San Antonio Shopping Center is horrible!! Like Laura said, the entrances and exits are like a maze and of course people freak out because of it and don't know how to drive! When things look nicer/cleaner, people respond to that in a positive manner and suddenly the neighborhood becomes SAFER. I think they should definitely keep the stores like Ross, Trader Joes, and Sears.. it just needs to be cleaned up!

Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 2, 2009 at 9:37 am

Mt. View- smart, progressive city.

Posted by note to me: on brands
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 2, 2009 at 9:48 am

Me -

I had been in perfect sync with your thinking for roughly 30 years, when I experienced in depth a different, Asian culture.

There actually are many people who genuinely believe, with good reason, that brands are the way to ensure quality. The cheap generic or local non-brand stuff tends to fall apart, or do worse things in the case of food or drugs or financial institutions.

These people are convinced not only that branded goods represent better quality, but that the brands themselves represent good companies and good investments.

And, they think it is the ultimate goal of every education to be branded sufficiently well to work at one of these top brand companies.

For some, the most trusted brand of all?

Their government.

Go figure.

Odds are, these ridiculous "oddly sewn-together leather 'purses'" made for the sole purpose of parting money from the rich are sewn with good seams.

Posted by PA/Mt.View Border Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

As others have already said, San Antonio Mall really needs a make over. If Mountain View can remake it like Salt Lake City's "The Gateway" Web Link I think they would really have something. Housing over lots of shops. It would become a major draw from Palo Alto, Mountain View, EPA, Los Altos, and even norther Sunnyvale (given the state of Sunnyvale Mall).

Posted by Attitude
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:32 am

You Palo Alto folks make me laugh. There are a few that I have met with the better than you attitude and the Palo Alto is better than any other City on the Peninsula attitude. Yet these same folks venture into Los Altos and Mountain View to shop. Recently I told a Palo Alto resident that a Trader Joe's was going to open in Palo Alto, the response I got..."Now I'll never have to leave Palo Alto".

Posted by PA Neighbor
a resident of Monroe Park
on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:35 am

Great, more places outside PA for shopping!!!

Posted by Carol
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Feb 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm

A long time ago there was talk of making the center into a "discount" shopping center. I thought that was a great idea!!

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Let's hear it for more high density housing. 57 acres at 16 units/acre is 1000 more residences. Great... This trend does not look sustainable to me.

Posted by rem
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Dear butchers of San Antonio Shopping Center,

Take away a workable Center - One that works - One that has different areas. Easy access in and out..

Have WE NOT learned anything from the JOKE called Sunnyvale Shopping Center, on Mathilda in Sunnyvale… OR better still the JOKES called Santana Row and Stanford Mall....

Another nice old place - GONE.

Reality CHECK please on the “Mountain View City Council approved a "gatekeeper" request last week that could lead to a massive revamp of San Antonio Shopping Center, possibly even bringing the spirit of San Jose's Santana Row to Mountain View.”

Why don’t we have a honest Mountain View City Council that will honestly say “Developer (Contractors) Lobby, Developer (Contractors) Donate, We approve!!!!”

It would be great if the Mountain View City Council learned a new word – NO or new phase – DISAPPROVED….

There is no sane reason to approve REVAMPING San Antonio Shopping Center except MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and not care about the people of Mountain View/Palo Alto and the surrounding areas that use the Shopping Center…..

Posted by Jocelyn Dong
editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Feb 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

To Midtown Mom -

The MV City Council report about the conceptual plan-to-date is at

Web Link

(Go to the bottom of page 4; a timeline for gathering community input on the project is outlined on page 6.) Note that no renderings or maps were provided with the document, however.

Posted by paly parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

REM - I'm glad you think San Antonio works, I find it decrepit and hard to navigate. Except for Trader Joes, Daiso and a few of the small stores, its storefronts are either empty or amazingly dirty and unkempt (think Walmart and Sears). While we wouldn't want the mix of stores that Stanford or Santana Row have, they are both lovely places. I particularly like the mix of retail, restaurants, housing, entertainment and pleasant outdoor spaces at Santana Row.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 2, 2009 at 9:39 pm

The shopping center needs a "WinCo"food store or its equivalent in place of Sears. Sears is going out of business there and do not even get advertised items.

A "circular" bus service to South and West Palo Alto would greatly increase business there and reduce traffic.

Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm

San Antonio is a mess. You can't shop at various stores without risking your life navigating huge expanses of parking lots. Suburban blight at it's best.

I've never been to Satana Row as I have no idea where it is in San Jose's suburban wasteland, but I believe upscaling malls is the way to go business wise. You don't really need to have more expensive shops, you just need to provide more of a destination for shoppers. I'd much rather walk around stanford mall than some cheap stores in a gigantic parking lot.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I agree that the parking lot should be redesigned to make it safer and easier to navigate - ending up outside Walmart because you can't turn round is a bad idea and outside TJs is very difficult - and replacing the old Lucky store and Mervyn's stores need to be done to improve the Cal. Ave. end as well as the old Shoe Pavilion, but there are enough anchors there to keep the shoppers coming. A plaza feel somewhere would be nice with perhaps a deli type sandwich shop and a few trees would be very pleasant. A map with "you are here" and list of stores would also be a good idea as I have been asked several times by unfamiliar shoppers where various stores are situated. But the integrity of the shopping center should not be altered as we do not want it to turn into Stanford Shopping Center, let alone Santana Row which I have rarely visited and do not want to experience because of the traffic and parking problems getting there.

Posted by PA Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2009 at 7:53 am

The problem with San Antonio Shopping Center is you have to get in your car and drive to each location. If you start at Mervyns, you then have to drive to get to Walmart, then drive again to get to Sears. There should be pedestrian Malls between each location.

Meanwhile, thank heavens for Walmart and Target I can still afford to shop there.

Posted by Angry
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2009 at 10:36 am

It would be criminal to replace the current shops with upscale ones. What town would you like us all to drive to then?

Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2009 at 10:52 am

Oh damn, I really liked the ease of San Antonio Center. With todays economic climate I wish we had a super Walmart, say what you want about Walmart but you DO save on household stuff, BIG TIME! In fact, a local newscast recently did a report on all the high price luxury vehicles in their parking lot. A facelift of the center wouldn't be bad, but a Santana Row type thing? Anybody remember the Old Mill? I do. I worked there. It was gorgeous, and it's gone. Now all that's left is high density housing, the likes of which, oh yeah, they plan to build MORE! And what's to become of the former Mayfield Mall? MORE housing yet again? Yipee! I do so love overcrowding!

All these people causing more traffic on the streets. All these people flooding the schools. Don't want to wait 5 hours at our TWO emergency rooms PA and MV? No problem! How does 8-10 sound to you? Increased crime? No problem. Pack in too many people in close proximity and see what happens. We are turning into Orange County!!!!!!

Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

By the way, the 'current' shops are somewhat duplicated at McCarthy Ranch, Milpitas. Happy Travels!

Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I never understood the appeal of walmart as being cheap. 99% of that store are goods you could live without. In the bay area, you'll find better quality at thrift stores anyway. Having dealt with retail, I now know that a product of better quality will cause less problems, save some agrivation and save you money in the long term. Walmart is mostly about consumer perception; a store that helps poor 'ol americans buy loads of (beep) with their $8hr paycheck. Yeah right, and tobacco companies are great too.

Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:48 am

Household cleaning products etc. Why pay $2 more at another store for the same product? That's just bad budgeting!

Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:51 am

Cheapest household cleaning products? Buy a jug of vinegar anywhere. Plus you can be one of those green palo alto poseurs. Walmart probably doesn't even stock vinegar, only little debbie snacks, weight loss shakes, etc.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:54 am


You obviously have not been to Walmart, you really don't know what you are talking about. They have the same brands as everywhere else, just much cheaper. For things like school supplies, they are great, but they see out too quickly.

I don't like going there because I don't like the store, the lines, the parking, even the staff, but don't knock what you don't know about.

Posted by Student in Palo Alto
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Would have been nice to have a new shopping center to chill at during my life in Palo Alto. There isn't any place for Gunn Students to hang out for miles, being such there isn't a centrally located place for us all to meet. I hope they include in their plans stuff for high schoolers.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:05 am

San Antonio's always had issues as a shopping center--that's why it has those low-rent stores so suitable for bargain hunting. Back when I had reason to be informed about retail 20 years ago, there was always talk about doing something with San Antonio and then . . . nothing would happen.

There's a good reason for this--too many owners who can't come to an agreement. Note the proposal was authored by just half of the owners. Who knows what the other two actually want or will do.

Meanwhile, the good location and the various self-sufficient anchors mean the center will continue to plod along in one way or another. But don't assume there will be some big colossal transformation. The San Antonio crew make the "Palo Alto process" look reckless in its haste.

Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm

It's been estimated that taxpayers subsidize walmart into the billions by supporting their underpaid and nonbenefited employees. All those Walmart employees who make $8hr have no or very bleepy medical coverage and often need food stamps, etc.

So all those cheap goods are not cheap. Beyond that, Walmart destroys small town businesses, not that this really matters in silicon valley.

Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 6, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I would prefer not so much redevelopment. It is only blandishment to the shopper. I like to get what I need and get out,. Blandishment just gets expensive and no one needs it. You want blandishment, go to the aforementioned Stanford or Santana Row. Heck, go to San Francisco. You can get blandished to death there. (*blandish, v. tr.--to wheedle, coax or cajole)

BUT, more sidewalks would be nice. You won't die of blandishment, but you can get run over at San Antonio Shopping Center.

Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm

On the other hand, if Walmart did not exist, those "underpaid and non-benefited" workers would be simply unemployed. No-one is forced to work there, so it appears the employees find it a better job than what they can find elsewhere. There are minimum wage laws, which I presume Walmart observes - how then are the workers "under-paid?"

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2009 at 1:14 am

Me Too,

That's not accurate, those Walmart workers would presumably be employed at the small businesses that were done in by Walmart. Some of them might be working in factories that that lost business to China. Walmart is responsible for an astonishing percentage of trade with China.

Walmart has tremendous efficiencies of scale, but efficiency while desirable from Walmart's perspective may not be good for a local economy as a whole. Walmart is no friend to small businesses and small businesses are good for local economies.

Basically, it's one of those no such thing as a free lunch issues--someone's paying for those amazing bargains.

Posted by Palo Alto should have a say
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2009 at 1:50 am

Naturally the City of Palo alto should have input into the redeveopment of San Antonio Center since the increase in traffic will negatively impact Palo Alto. once the Mountain view city counil makes a decision, this decision should be passed on to the PA council for discussion, investigation and perhaps approval--if the PA council feels the redeveopment will ne a burden on PA they may turn it down. Anyway, this will have to enter the PA process, so do not expect changes at San Antonio Center for years to come (i.e. think Alma Plaza).

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