I Support Measure D, the Revitalization of Vallco

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  • I support the Measure D, the Vallco Town Center Specific Plan Initiative, to revitalize Vallco into a vibrant mixed-use town center.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.

Measure D, the Vallco Town Center Specific Plan Initiative, is a ballot measure that would spearhead a long overdue, thorough and viable revitalization of the dying Vallco Mall. The initiative will seek to revitalize the nearly vacant mall as a sustainable mixed-use town center as called for in Cupertino’s community-created General Plan. In conjunction with redeveloping Vallco into a prosperous town center, the initiative will also include the most robust package of community benefits ever granted to Cupertino.

This initiative was put forward by Cupertino Neighbors, Educators, and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce for the Sensible and Sustainable Revitalization of Vallco and introduced by Judy Wilson and Vicky Tsai, two longtime residents of Cupertino and community leaders.

Funding for the initiative is provided by this committee, with major funding by Sand Hill Property Company and Vallco Property Owner LLC.

Measure D (the Vallco Town Center Initiative) is needed due to the recent qualification of a poorly drafted and ill-conceived initiative, known as Measure C (CCSG Initiative), which would force Vallco to remain as a failed, retail-only mall. We sponsored the Town Center Initiative, which presents a sensible and sustainable vision for the revitalization of Vallco, to give Cupertino voters a clear choice regarding the future of Vallco.

The Hills at Vallco will revitalize the aging and obsolete Vallco mall into a vibrant and dynamic town center for the entire Cupertino community to enjoy. With this initiative, the future of Vallco and Cupertino will include a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment options, dedicated public open space and trails, new senior and workforce housing, innovative office space to support the lifecycle of Silicon Valley businesses, unique educational investments, critical traffic improvements and transit funding, and community-oriented offerings, such as a banquet hall, community center, and education facilities.

Measure D is the only plan that would result in the viable revitalization of Vallco Mall. The outcome will be a new vibrant town center that will feature a dynamic mix of family-friendly retail, entertainment and dining options.

By supporting this initiative, you are also supporting locking in unprecedented community benefits to Cupertino including:

  • A 30-acre community park with 3.8 miles of accessible recreational trails;
  • Free space for non-profits and civic organizations, a banquet hall, and a community center;
  • A destination Town Center square, performance venues, an amphitheater and an iconic play space for children;
  • More than $50 million in benefits to Cupertino schools, including a state-of-the-art Innovation Center for local students located within The Hills at Vallco, and new annual tax revenues of $3 million to the Fremont Union High School District and $1.2 million to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District;
  • Up to 800 residential units that would include a 160 residential units specially reserved for seniors, as well as an additional $50 million contribution to building affordable housing in Cupertino;
  • A progressive Transportation Demand Management plan, substantial contributions to a free community shuttle, an on-site transit center, $30 million toward I-280 improvements, plus $10s of millions more in local roadway improvements;
  • Sustainability strategies including irrigation by recycled water and rainwater collection and reuse;
  • Substantial economic and fiscal benefits, including one-time tax revenues of more than $14 million and new, recurring tax revenues of over $5 million to the City of Cupertino; and approximately $20 million in new annual property tax revenue to support vital public services like local school districts, police, fire and libraries.

The Town Center Initiative will bring one-time tax revenues of more than $14 million and new, recurring tax revenues of nearly $6.6 million each year to the City of Cupertino. Moreover, the Town Center Initiative will bring an estimated $19 million every year to support vital community services like local school districts, police, fire and libraries. In addition, the Town Center Initiative will trigger a $50 million dollar contribution from the developer to the City to be spent on providing affordable housing in Cupertino.

The community benefits have been written into the initiative in order to eliminate any doubt as to whether Cupertino residents can count on these benefit promises. This means that upon approval by Cupertino voters, these community benefits will become law and a legal mandate of the redevelopment, thereby ensuring a firm commitment to the community.

The City of Cupertino had a thorough, independent review, known as a 9212 report, prepared on the CCSG Initiative. The City’s independent 9212 report is an impartial analysis that studies the potential effects that a ballot initiative could have on the City.

Overall, we believe that the independent 9212 report of the CCSG Initiative was very accurate and reflected the many challenges that it would bring to Cupertino. These include preventing a revitalization of Vallco and continuing its deterioration, blocking the robust community benefits proposed in the Town Center Initiative, increasing the height limit in Cupertino’s neighborhoods to 45 feet, hindering future economic success, prohibiting new affordable housing units, increasing the number of elections, and contributing to rising crime.

The Vallco Initiative is the only plan that will revitalize the dying and nearly vacant Vallco Mall and turn it into a vibrant town center for us all to enjoy. It is the only initiative that will revive retail at Vallco. It is also the only initiative to provide substantial community benefits, including benefits for local schools, roadway and transit system, our senior community, local nonprofits, and open space and green building.

The CCSG Initiative would prevent the revitalization of Vallco by preventing the City from making changes to the existing failed 1.2 million square foot mall, resulting in the further decline of Vallco. The initiative will decrease job and business opportunities, preventing the City from attaining its economic development goals, and it would also cost us all millions in community benefits that we could get with the Vallco Initiative. In particular, by stopping the Vallco plan, local schools will lose out on $40 million to relieve overcrowding and invest in science, engineering, and technology education and over $5 million in annual funding. Improvements at Vallco are long overdue, but they won’t happen with the CCSG Initiative. CCSGI would require the City to call an election for even small changes that need to be made to local development projects. And these elections could cost the City over $400,000 each, draining resources that can be better spent on other needs. It is also so poorly written that it actually raises building heights in our residential neighborhoods to 45 feet (four stories) negatively impacting 75 percent of our City.

Moreover, the Town Center Initiative will generate millions in annual sales and property tax revenue for Cupertino schools, police, fire, traffic improvement, libraries and parks. The CCSG Initiative would prohibit this and ensure that the City gets almost no benefit from Vallco for years to come.

Several experts, including the City’s legal counsel, have confirmed that under the CCSG Initiative building height limits in Cupertino’s residential neighborhoods will be raised by at least 15 feet – an increase of 50 percent – to 45 feet throughout the City. This means that courtesy of the CCSG Initiative residents will be able to construct homes up to four stories in height. Neighborhoods make up three-fourths of Cupertino’s land, so this height limit will apply to the majority of our City and have a major negative impact on the communal feel of our neighborhoods – something most residents do not want to change.

No. By reducing the amount of housing and office space in the City, the independent 9212 report commissioned by the City found that the CCSG Initiative could also exacerbate traffic in Cupertino. Because the CCSG Initiative prohibits a mix of residential and employment uses at Vallco, it is likely that it would in fact increase the City’s overall vehicle miles traveled under the General Plan because new housing and jobs would continue to be located farther and farther apart from each other.

Additionally, the Town Center Initiative goes one step farther than the CCSG Initiative by committing to delivering effective traffic solutions through the creation of a progressive Transportation Demand Management plan, contributions to a free community shuttle, a multi-modal transit center, a $30 million contribution toward I-280 improvements, plus $10s of millions of dollars more in local roadway improvements.

Maintaining Vallco as a dead mall will only continue to hurt the City’s well-being. The independent 9212 report on the CCSG Initiative notes that the City’s overall tax performance has been deeply influenced by the decline of retail sales. Taxable sales from retail stores in Cupertino have increased since 2013, but Vallco only shows a consistent decline in this area. The CCSG initiative does nothing for the City’s economic health – in fact, it will cost the City millions in lost revenues.

The CCSG Initiative will maintain Vallco as it is – a largely vacant shopping center. With any property, if buildings are vacant, this creates an opportunity for vandalism, arson, drug dealing, prostitution and other serious crimes, and may serve as an encampment space for transients. Mall management and the Sheriff’s office are already reporting these crime rate increases. The City’s independent 9212 report, for example, notes that in 2013, police did not report any stolen vehicles at Vallco, but in 2015-2016, they have recovered six thus far. Alternatively, the revitalization plan outlined in the Town Center Initiative would increase activity to the area, increasing regular police monitoring and reducing vandalism, vagrancy and other crimes.

If the Town Center Initiative is not approved, Vallco will only continue to deteriorate. Only a complete transformation will lead to its long-term success. Greensfelder, a commercial real estate expert, confirms in the City’s independent 9212 report of the CCSG Initiative that Vallco cannot be successful as a retail-only mall, and the addition of residential and office space will create a dynamic environment that retailers are drawn to and support an active commercial core in Cupertino. This is exactly what the Town Center Initiative will do.

No. Every industry expert, including independent consultants to the city, have agreed that Vallco cannot continue as a traditional retail-only mall. We have 30 years of evidence. Some of the most reputable mall operators in the world, including the owner of Westfield Valley Fair, tried and failed. Vallco has not, will not and cannot be successful in its current form.

The retail market is changing drastically. Major retailers are closing thousands of stores nationwide because shoppers no longer turn only to brick and mortar stores with the advent of online shopping. When people do go out to shop, they prefer retail settings with more to offer. Today, traditional regional malls are losing market share, and only the strong survive. For the last many years Vallco has been ranked last amongst all regional malls in the South Bay and Peninsula and been unable to compete with other malls in the trade area. Vallco has become irrelevant in today’s market and remains a tired eyesore that doesn’t serve our community.

Yes. To ensure the successful revitalization of Vallco, it was essential for us to have a plan that would be informed and supported by the community. To accomplish that, we invited every business owner and resident in the entire city to provide their input, conducted 28 comprehensive Open Houses that were attended by thousands of Cupertino residents, and joined numerous City and community events to better understand the issues in the community in general. In total, residents and business owners from all over the city shared more than 4,000 suggestions that we used to develop and refine our plan to revitalize Vallco. When you review the Town Center Initiative, you will see that community input serves as its foundation.

Not at all. At 640,000 square feet of retail, the retail industry would consider the Vallco Town Center larger than many “regional malls.” In fact, it would be roughly the same amount of retail as offered by Santana Row and by Westgate Center. And it would be more than twice as much retail as is currently open and operating at the Vallco mall today. The exciting retail, enticing cuisine, lively atmosphere, and innovative design will make the Vallco Town Center the premier social destination in the South Bay.

The Town Center Initiative will appear on the November ballot in Cupertino. Signatures were gathered for the Vallco Town Center Specific Plan Initiative in spring 2016. These were verified by the County and received by the Cupertino City Council.

Visit the Resources page for the latest key findings from each of the analyses prepared to date, along with links to the full reports and additional resources.