Apartments rise at The Village at San Antonio Center

Photo By: Ellie Van HOutte/town crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier Construction nears completion on new apartments at The Village at San Antonio Center.

Leasing is under way for the new apartments towering where Sears once stood in the former San Antonio Shopping Center, now dubbed The Village at San Antonio. Watch a Town Crier video on the project.

Called Carmel The Village, the units mix studio, one- and two-bedroom floor plans across three buildings. All have access to common facilities including an outdoor pool and a 20-person fireside spa.

The five-story buildings locate housing in the top four stories and retail and restaurants on the ground level. Residents may be able to move in as early as March, according to Nicole Histo, community manager for the new apartments.

High-end features

The complex includes some features that might be unfamiliar to those not steeped in the world of high-end rental housing. An Aqua Lounge provides a communal area near the pool for hanging out, and opens onto the lower story of the fitness center so that outdoor-minded gym bunnies can bring mobile bike stations out into the sunlight. A second-story studio includes a mirrored room with a barre. Coffee drinkers can swing by coffee machines each morning, and a game room has a billiards table and Nintendo Wii setup.

A tech center provides space to work near the complex’s library, and the “Bark Greenspace and Dogspot” offers an open grass area and a fenced-in, off-leash run for dogs. The development is pet friendly, but with size and breed restrictions.

Prices run from $2,195 to $4,090 a month for units that range in size from 540 to 1,459 square feet. A private real estate investment company, Merlone Geier Partners, leads the overall redevelopment in the northwest corner of the center but collaborated with Carmel Partners on the housing part of the project.

Kate Grasso, vice president of marketing for Carmel Partners, touted sustainability features on the site that exceed state requirements, including the apartments’ participation in the “Build It Green” program.

Histo said a wide variety of potential renters had signed an interest list, ranging from seniors to young techies.

Los Altos School District Assistant Superintendent Randy Kenyon said the district’s demographer predicted 33 students might enter the district when the apartments filled. He cited young, single professionals as a likely profile for most new renters.

Retailer roundup

The 16-acre combination of housing, retail, services and restaurants is framed as a “pedestrian-oriented community” located near Caltrain, bus and bike routes. The developer expects it to generate more than $1 million a year in sales-tax revenue.

Liz Munger, property manager for Merlone Geier, said the company is courting prospective business tenants with an eye to providing services for new residents onsite, “lifestyle-type” places ranging from salons to restaurants.

“We’ll bring in some boutique-type clients, but it won’t just be clothing and shoes,” she said.

Thus far, a burger bar, Starbucks, an investment company and a dry cleaner have signed on, and Safeway is building a new store at the heart of the site providing expanded ready-to-eat options and seated dining. Shoppers and diners will find parking on Safeway’s rooftop, at street-level and on the mezzanine of one apartment building. Residents will access private subterranean garages.

A matter of traffic

Zach Dahl, senior planner for Los Altos, said the city anticipated that 10-15 percent of the new trips stemming from housing at the center would travel down San Antonio Road into town.

“Undoubtedly, it's going to generate more traffic, the question is how much,” he said. “The nature of these units that are being built tends to cater more towards professional couples, singles – you’re not going to have the concentration of families that you do in townhouses or single-family developments.”

The main vehicular entrance to the development at San Antonio Road and Fayette Drive has a stoplight. The developers have reduced the number of driveways leading onto El Camino Real to fewer than were in use when Sears occupied the property. Dahl said that might improve the flow of traffic on El Camino. He said the intersection at Showers Drive and El Camino Real should remain relatively unaffected, as the new development ends more than a city block before that junction.

The seven new buildings nearing completion represent Phase 1 of the two-part project, which will extend to California Avenue. Although Munger stayed mum on what may come in Phase 2 when asked last week, Dahl said plans for office and retail space excluding further residential development had been discussed in a study session in Mountain View last summer.

For more information, call 948-4512 or visit

Read more on new developments in Los Altos, traffic, and school enrollment here.

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