Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am


San Antonio developer asked to swap office space for housing

village2Katie Robinson/Town Crier
Lenny Siegel of Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View (center in blue shirt), addresses a pro-housing group outside Mountain View City Hall prior to the July 2 council meeting.

The Mountain View City Council’s July 2 directive for more housing at The Village at San Antonio Center complex may mean one less office building on the 20-acre site but more living space for dozens of potential residents.

Motivated by pressure to address the city’s jobs-housing imbalance, the council unanimously agreed that developer Merlone Geier Partners’ Phase 2 plans should include residential units. Some of that pressure came from the advocacy group Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View, whose members staged a rally outside city hall prior to the council meeting.

Phase 2 plans previously included 400,000 square feet of office space, a 167-room hotel, an eight-screen theater and 80,000 square feet of restaurants and retail. No housing was initially planned for Phase 2, but the developer built 330 apartment units under Phase 1 of the project.

The directive complicates a planning puzzle that also includes the fate of the beloved Milk Pail Market and completion of the city’s San Antonio Precise Plan – a plan designed to set guidelines for building density and maximizing area traffic flow.

City Manager Dan Rich said Phase 2 plans would return to the council after a study session on the draft Precise Plan, scheduled for completion in late August.

“Dates haven’t been set for the Precise Plan or (Merlone Geier Phase 2) meetings yet,” Rich said.

Local housing advocates celebrated the council decision.

“This is a significant step in the right direction,” said Lenny Siegel of the advocacy group Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View. “We will have to evaluate the new plan as the details are proposed.”

As reported in the Town Crier last week, the council’s new directive prompted cancellation of a recent parking arrangement between Milk Pail owner Steve Rasmussen and Merlone Geier that would have guaranteed additional parking for the store beyond this year. The switching out of office space for residential has the developer re-evaluating its parking numbers.

“It is my understanding that Steve signed the agreement that was contingent on the approval of the project,” Rich said. “I am hopeful that the same or a similar deal can be agreed to by the parties before the council considers the project again.”

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