Upcoming Actions Set to Move Sunnyvale Town Center Closer to Construction
SUNNYVALE, Calif. – On Monday, May 23, the Sunnyvale Planning Commission will take action on proposed amendments to the Special Development Permit (SDP) that reflects the significant progress being made toward completing the long-stalled Sunnyvale Town Center. In a related but separate action, the Sunnyvale City Council, serving in its capacity as the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency, is scheduled to review the project’s development agreement (ADDOPA) on June 28, which defines the obligations of the developer to execute and complete the project. Completing the sale of the Town Center from Wells Fargo Bank to the developer is contingent upon the developer gaining approval for both the updated SDP and ADDOPA which both essentially define the terms by which the Town Center will be designed and built.
The Town Center’s new developer – a joint venture called STC Venture, LLC, formed by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Hunter Properties, Inc., and Sares Regis Group of Northern California – was approved by the City of Sunnyvale in December 2015 and has since been working closely with City staff on the revisions to these key project documents. “Reaching these milestones so quickly shows the caliber of the development team and the high level of collaboration between them and our City staff,” said City Manager Deanna J. Santana. “I’m thrilled we’ve been able to reach agreements on revisions that are necessary to ensure the Town Center project is positioned for success and will also benefit the community in a number of ways.”
Key proposed changes to the SDP relate to existing project conditions, environmental and smart city improvements and affordable housing. None of the proposed amendments affect the amount, type, intensity or location of allowable uses at this time. Proposed project condition amendments include allowing the residential units to be rental or ownership units instead of only ownership; allowing ground floor commercial/retail space related to the residential use and for recreational facilities open to the public; and demolishing the existing two-story steel framing in Block 3 to allow for temporary parking and landscaping improvements to the Redwood Square which has been closed off to the public.
Proposed environmental amendments include requiring the developer to comply with the City’s Climate Action Plan measures for air quality and with the Green Building Program to the extent feasible for partially completed facilities and for all subsequent new construction (neither program was adopted when the project was initially approved in 2007). Another proposed amendment updates conditions related to affordable housing with the developer agreeing to reserve 12.5 percent of all housing units within the project for Below Market Rate (BMR) rental or for-sale units and commit these units to be affordable to low-income households for 55 years.
Proposed smart city amendments include requiring the developer to work with the City to introduce smart city technology or infrastructure into the project such as smartphone apps, kiosks, signage and/or Wi-Fi that provide convenient information for downtown customers and workers. Incorporating technology into the required public art program is also a possible opportunity. The developer is already required to install an electronic system that monitors and provides real-time information on available spaces in parking garages. Combined with the environmental benefits, the project would achieve a higher level of sustainability and innovation than previously required and serve to distinguish Sunnyvale’s downtown from other shopping/entertainment districts and respond to the public’s growing demand for technology conveniences.
“Completing this project is a top priority for Sunnyvale and I’m delighted we’re seeing quick action and creative proposed changes that align with our community’s environmental, housing and innovation goals,” stated Sunnyvale Mayor Glenn Hendricks. “I look forward to reviewing the ADDOPA in June and to continuing our strong partnership with the developer and all of our downtown businesses as this project moves through the entitlement process and toward construction.”
Sunnyvale’s downtown, with its proximity to transit and booming job centers, continues to be an attractive and desirable location in which to live, work and play. Solstice and Carmel Loft House – two mixed-use projects located on Washington Avenue and Olson Way – have about forty thousand square feet of retail space and more than 400 new apartments that are almost fully leased, adding to the vibrancy of the downtown. New businesses such as Nom Burger, Starbucks, City Place Wine Bar and Orange Theory Fitness also have recently opened, expanding dining and shopping options and joining established and popular restaurants, bars and shops along Murphy Avenue. All are unique to Sunnyvale or smaller chains that add to the eclectic vibe downtown.
The agenda and accompanying Report to Planning Commission for this item on May 23 can be found online by close of business May 19 at CouncilMeetings.inSunnyvale.com.