Future of Vallco to be discussed at tonight’s City Council meeting

Photo: Courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook.Photo: Courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook.

Consultants hired by the City will be addressing the City Council tonight about the Vallco Specific Plan.

On November 21, the City Council authorized the preparation of a Specific Plan, which proposes a “vibrant mixed-use town center” at Vallco. The Council has requested a presentation from the consultants to discuss the Specific Plan, which includes a desired vision for the area as well as guidelines for land use, site layout, streetscape and open space building. The consultants will also talk about the Environmental Impact Report, an economic analysis and the next steps.

Tonight’s City Council meeting will be a new step towards determining Vallco’s next life. “I am looking forward to a robust discussion which will hopefully culminate with consensus to redevelop the site with a good mixed use project that the majority of our residents support,” Vice Mayor Rod Sinks said to the Cupertino Today Staff.

Last October – nearly one year after the rejected Measures C and D – Sand Hill, owner of Vallco Mall, submitted a formal request to the City to restart the process to redevelop the ghost mall. Last year’s Measure D supported Sand Hill Property’s office-centric plan, called The Hills at Vallco, while the competing Measure C sought to secure Vallco as a retail only site. Measure C was roundly rejected (60.88%) and Measure D fell short of just 4.83% of the votes. One year later, Sand Hill asked the City to study project alternatives for the site that would reduce the office space from its earlier The Hills at Vallco plan and increase housing, with a significant amount of affordable units.

In a recent Cupertino Today poll, more than half of residents said the cost of housing is the biggest challenge of living in Cupertino. Over the last months, many community members have expressed support to redevelop Vallco, as it offers opportunities to address the region’s housing crisis.

Vice Mayor Rod Sinks said, “Given the acute housing shortage in Silicon Valley, I think it is appropriate to consider a project with less office and more housing than we would have gotten with The Hills. I’ve heard that many residents want to retain substantial retail and entertainment uses at the site, which I support. Our current General Plan requires 600,000 square feet of retail/entertainment, which is half of the existing 1.2 million square feet of the mall.”

We also reached out to the Mayor and other City Council members for a reaction regarding tonight’s City Council, but didn’t hear back from them.