Project DescriptionFROM SAND HILL PROPERTY COMPANY (Aug. 26, 2015):
Sand Hill Property Company (“Sand Hill Property”), a leading Silicon Valley-based property owner and developer announced today new plans to completely transform the outdated Vallco Shopping Mall into The Hills at Vallco – to become Cupertino’s mixed use town center and the heart of the City’s emerging downtown. Plans include a vibrant, sustainable, walkable and safe new neighborhood with a mix of retail, dining, entertainment, recreation, offices, housing, open space and public amenities. The Hills at Vallco also features an unprecedented 30-acre community park and nature preserve, which will not only be the largest community park in Cupertino, but also the largest green roof in the world. The Hills at Vallco represents a $3 billion investment in the Cupertino community.
The once bustling Vallco Shopping Mall has faced decades of declining sales and fading consumer interest as well as major vacancies. Macy’s closed in March 2015, and the lower level of the mall has been shuttered for more than a decade. With Sears recently announcing their closure this October, occupancy will fall below 50 percent. The mall was purchased by Sand Hill in late 2014, and the successful assemblage of all 50 acres from four different owners allows for a unified vision and revitalization plan never before possible. Working with residents and the City, Sand Hill Property designed an exciting, sustainable and walkable neighborhood that puts people first and encourages community engagement, wellness and healthy lifestyles.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley and nestled in between Apple’s current Infinite Loop headquarters and Apple Campus 2, The Hills at Vallco will include family- and entertainment-oriented retail shops, a new mix of dining options and community space for public events. The Hills at Vallco will also retain popular entertainment venues including AMC Theaters, bowling, ice skating, fitness and banquet facilities. This new town center includes 2 million square feet of office space and can accommodate companies through their entire life cycle – from incubators and start-ups to emerging and established businesses. Traditional mixed-use buildings with residential over retail stores will include 680 market-rate apartments, 80 apartments dedicated for affordable housing and 40 apartments for seniors.
“The Hills at Vallco will become the heart of an emerging downtown, with an authentic sense of place, connection, innovation and beauty, and a level of vibrancy and sustainability not yet experienced in Silicon Valley,” said Reed Moulds, Managing Director, Sand Hill Property, who is leading the redevelopment effort.
Unprecedented Parks & Open Space
The Hills at Vallco features an integrated 30-acre community park and nature preserve for all Cupertino residents to enjoy. This innovative green roof goes beyond previous green roof designs and provides unprecedented recreational resources, 3.8 mile trail network for jogging and walking, vineyards, orchards and organic gardens, an amphitheater, children’s play areas and a refuge for native species of plants and birds. The community park and nature preserve are intended to be easily accessible, as well as very user- and pet-friendly. The Hills at Vallco will also include more trails than the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve in Cupertino, while the shape of the rolling hills, preservation of existing trees and planting of new ones will provide a privacy buffer to the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
“The Hills at Vallco expresses the lifestyle, innovation and creativity of Silicon Valley, and reinforces Cupertino’s position as the social, economic, technology and architectural center of Silicon Valley,” said Moulds.
This environmentally-conceived plan will target LEED Platinum certification. Key elements to this goal are the use of recycled water for irrigation, heating, and cooling systems and recapture of rainwater to reduce water consumption. The sustainable park will feature native, drought tolerant and climate responsive landscaping that thrives on little to no water. The vast majority of existing trees will be preserved and hundreds of new trees will be planted. The green roof, natural ventilation and smart technology will ensure energy efficiency, keeping buildings and surroundings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Sand Hill Property will partner with local water agencies and providers to extend recycled water directly to The Hills at Vallco.
World Renowned Design Firms
To make this vision a reality, Sand Hill Property selected two world-renowned designers, Rafael Viñoly Architects and OLIN Landscape Architects. Both have national and international expertise, as well as local Silicon Valley experience. The overall design integrates seamlessly into the surrounding community and offers access to retail, residences, employment, school facilities, town squares, parks, playgrounds and trails. Distinct to their environmentally friendly design is the world’s largest green roof, which will be publicly accessible.
Before hiring the design firms, Sand Hill Property conducted an extensive community engagement process focused on how to best redevelop the outdated mall with an eye towards making life in Cupertino even better than it already is. The company hosted 20 community events, met with more than 1,050 residents and business owners and received more than 3,800 suggestions. This feedback included requests for a variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment, open space elements, protecting and improving schools, traffic and connectivity solutions, preserving existing trees and ensuring that the project created a true town center for Cupertino.
“We are fulfilling the General Plan and responding to Cupertino community priorities and feedback,” said Moulds. “What we heard from the community and have done is to keep and integrate the most popular entertainment venues and uses like AMC Theaters, bowling, ice skating, fitness and banquet facilities into a true downtown that Cupertino residents have always wanted, where people can shop, dine, live, work, learn and play.”
The Hills at Vallco will also maximize transportation alternatives, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists. Sand Hill Property will lead the effort to widen and rebuild the Wolfe Road/I-280 interchange and bridge, make intersection and traffic signal timing improvements, build a Transit Center onsite and fund a free community shuttle for Cupertino residents. This new downtown district, premised on a traditional town center design, will be connected throughout with pedestrian- and bike-friendly paths, which will also serve neighboring areas.
Protecting and Improving Cupertino Schools
Recognizing that there are other important community issues, Sand Hill Property, Cupertino Union School District and Fremont Union High School District have also announced a partnership to ensure the proposal has a net positive impact on local schools.
“If approved, The Hills at Vallco will bring more than $20 million to Cupertino Union Schools,” said Cupertino Union School District Superintendent, Wendy Gudalewicz. “With The Hills at Vallco, the owners will build a brand new 700 student elementary school at the former Nan Allen School site, replace all portable classrooms at Collins Elementary School with permanent ones, improve and expand athletic fields at Collins/Nan Allen schools and create a $1 million endowment for the 8th grade Yosemite Science Program.”
“Thanks to unprecedented collaboration and innovation, these new and improved schools will accommodate students from Vallco, provide space for hundreds of existing students and relieve pressure from existing schools,” said Phyllis Vogel, Board President, Cupertino Union School District. “If approved, The Hills at Vallco will not only protect but improve and strengthen our schools.”
In addition, integrated into The Hills at Vallco is also a new 10,000-square-foot Innovation Center designed for the Fremont Union High School District. This flexible, mixed-use center will serve as incubator space for students throughout the District and will spawn creative endeavors including student-led businesses, and serve as a hub for the District’s work-based learning initiatives, and as a place where students can build projects, display art and host robotics competitions. The Innovation Center and additional developer fees add up to more than $20 million for local high schools.
“The Hills at Vallco is a win-win for the community and our schools. We are extremely excited to partner with Sand Hill Property to enhance the educational experience for students in Cupertino and throughout our community,” said Polly M. Bove, Superintendent of Schools, Fremont Union High School District.
Sand Hill Property will be submitting development plans for The Hills at Vallco to the City of Cupertino in the coming weeks. Community members are invited to learn more about The Hills at Vallco, register for updates and share their thoughts by visiting TheHillsAtVallco.com.