Rob Fladeboe – KRON4, June 26, 2018

CUPERTINO (KRON) – A plan to revive the all but shuttered Vallco Mall in Cupertino is a step closer to reality.

Not only that — the project is seen as a kind of test case for legislation designed to help ease the Bay Area’s housing crunch.

Built in the 70’s and once a marquis destination for Silicon Valley shoppers, the sprawling Vallco Shopping Mall is now home to just a handful of businesses, its glory days long since gone.

But now, owner Sandhill Properties is proposing a massive housing project with 1.8 million square feet of office space and 400,000 square feet of retail.

The project would include 2,400 housing units, 50 percent of which would be considered affordable housing.

On Monday, Cupertino notified the developer that the project appears to qualify for consideration under SB-35.

Written by Senator Scott Weiner, SB-35 requires California cities to fast-track certain residential and mixed use projects.

Critics of the project worry about the impact on traffic, but affordable housing advocates like Silicon Valley At Home are delighted.

“That’s really what SB-35 was designed to do, designed to help provide tools to actually get housing built in places where there are processes and delays and we hope this project in Cupertino will serve as an example for other projects that are interested in getting this kind of housing built to address the hosing crisis,” said David Meyer with Silicon Valley At Home.

Final approval of the plan could come by late September.

At the same time, the city is considering a couple of other plans that are not impacted by SB-35.