Sand Hill Property Co., the San Mateo-based developer that built a Whole Foods store in Los Altos last year, is planning to build a 50,850-square-foot grocery store and 58,000 square feet of office space at the former Cadillac site at 1300 El Camino Real, near Valparaiso Avenue.
Sand Hill partner Jeff Warmoth would not disclose the identity of the grocery store operator or give a timeline for when the project could be built, but said he is in talks with "a specialty grocery store tenant" to fill the space.
The grocery store would front El Camino Real with 30,000 square feet of office space on the second story; the remaining office space would be behind the store in a two-story building, according to plans filed with the city's planning department.
The plans also call for a 322-space underground parking garage, 98 at-grade parking spaces, and an 8,000-square-foot patio for outdoor dining.
The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to hold a study session on the project in August.
This is Mr. Warmoth's second attempt to develop the 3.45-acre Cadillac site, which is adjacent to the site proposed for the Derry condo-commercial project.
In February 2006 he proposed building 135 apartments and 81,000 square feet of commercial space. That project called for about 40 homes per acre, and during a March study session, councilmen Richard Cline, Andy Cohen and Heyward Robinson said the project was too dense.
The three councilmen said the city should create a new plan for El Camino Real, including how much housing, commercial space, and other development is appropriate for the area. They said the city should not consider projects greater than the maximum 18.5 units per acre permitted under current zoning until a new plan for El Camino Real is in place.
Creating a plan
Thus far, the council members have struggled getting the El Camino Real plan off the ground.
Since establishing El Camino as a top priority in January, the topic has been at the root of confusion and bickering, as council members have been unable to determine what mix of public participation and consultant input is needed to make sure the look and feel of the major thoroughfare is designed to residents' liking.
"We need a road map so there's consistency on El Camino Real," Mr. Cline said. "It's going to require a ton of hours, a ton of headaches, and a lot of patience from everybody."
Mr. Cohen agreed that planning El Camino is a daunting task, but said councilmen Cline and John Boyle, as part of a subcommittee studying the issue, are failing to get much done.
Waiting it out
Other developers are waiting in the wings for the city to establish a new vision for El Camino Real so new projects can be built.
Plans to build a condo-commercial project at the former Anderson Chevrolet truck lot at 389 El Camino Real have been put on hold as the site developer, the Matteson Companies, waits for the council to start the planning process.
John Baer, a senior vice president with the Matteson Companies, said he hopes the proposed 108-condo Derry project off Oak Grove Avenue will set a standard for El Camino Real development.
"We're being patient and letting the city establish a vision, but we view the Derry project as a very clear signal of what the community is comfortable with," he said.
Stanford University is another major player in El Camino real estate, as Stanford Real Estate owns three important sites: the former Anderson Chevrolet car lot at 300 El Camino Real; the Lincoln Mercury site at 444 El Camino Real that closed its doors June 30; and the former University Ford site at 450 El Camino Real.
"The ultimate goal is to do a redevelopment of all of our properties at once, and we want to do that in conjunction with the city's El Camino Real plan," said Steve Elliott, a spokesperson for Stanford Real Estate.