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Century movie theater redevelopment must wait

Original post made on Sep 20, 2013

Despite protests from the developer, a proposal to redevelop the Century 16 movie theater on North Shoreline Boulevard with a new theater, fitness resort, hotel and offices will have to wait while city officials consider larger land use issues in the area, City Council members said Tuesday

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 20, 2013, 11:23 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by occasional moviegoer, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

"Puccinelli said Cinemark would likely keep the theaters as is for 10 more years, until Cinemark's lease agreement is expired. Council members complained that the sound system in the theaters was terrible, causing many residents to seek out newer theaters in Santa Clara and Cupertino."

comments to previous articles on this topic all pointed to how expensive movies were these days, and how few people actually go to a theater vs watching movies on their large flat screens at home, etc...

I don't go out to see every new movie, I'm quite selective with my time and money, but when I do go to a movie, I avoid the Cinemark for exactly the reasons mentioned above. The sound is awful! The seating is awkwardly arranged in some of the theaters. The chairs are uncomfortable. My business has been going to Mercado and that's a shame because I try to support MV businesses when I can.

Hopefully there is a middle ground to be found and I agree with Siegel's point that the "all or nothing" "now or never" attitude of some developers is quite tiresome. If they want the property to flourish and make money, they can build in another 12 months to the timeline. But I wonder if even the prospect of this project will impact the proposed theater at San Antonio. Either way, we need new movie theater options in MV.


Posted by Meathead, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

After work traffic on Shoreline from Google offices to 101 is horrendous.

I schedule my workouts at Gold's to be in an out of the gym before 5pm.
I can't imagine what it's going to be like with a new theater, family-oriented fitness resort (whatever the heck that is), and more office space.

Didn't the city council approve a "high end" fitness center at Rite Aid? Now they want to add another???

City Council needs to stop all this building and focus on traffic congestion and overcrowding in the schools, due to population growth.

Of course, the City Council could care less, since they'll gladly bend over for any, and all developers.


Posted by Century 16 Fan, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

It sounds to me like some of our city council members (and their beloved developers) are just a bunch whiny babies who aren't getting their way.

Century 16 has a lease and they should be able to legally run their business and/or remodel as their business plan provides.

"Council members complained that the sound system in the theaters was terrible, causing many residents to seek out newer theaters in Santa Clara and Cupertino."

Bull squirt! Next, our council (and the developers they keep shoving down our throats) will say the theatre needs to be bulldozed because there isn't enough butter on their popcorn. If the council members don't like the sound system at Century 16 they are welcome to drive to Santa Clara and Cupertino. The rest of us lined up at C16 are perfectly fine with it.

Viva la Century 16!!!


Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I was at this Council Meeting (as I am at almost all of them) and spoke out very strongly against this. I am not against new theaters, and I am not even strongly against the fitness center even though with Gold's gym already there I don't see the need; however I am always very cautious whenever someone says "you have to approve this project right away!". I've heard that too many times before, and seen the result of what happens when Government passes something in a hurry before anyone can read it to find out what's in it. I am not saying that is the case here, but I think that such a huge change in the very sensitive North Bayshore area must be thoroughly explored before any project on this scale is permitted to move forward.

I also have made no secret of my concern that the small retail businesses that are already there and are struggling to survive will not be further threatened. The project contains a proposal for office space and most of the existing space on that side is already thoroughly dominated by one mega-company. If said mega-company were to expand into this new office space, in my opinion, that would make it all but certain that these small businesses will fail. To me, these small businesses are like the burrowing owls of our business community and must be protected against the 800 lb. business gorillas who might destroy them, even inadvertently.

When the developer was asked why no one goes to the theaters there, the developer said something about them not being up to date, but I have been to the theater there and I see nothing wrong with it except that the only way to get there at night is by car since the bus service in that area is atrocious! It can take up to two hours from less than 3 miles away, because you have to take two buses to get there. On top of that you have to pay each time so the cost for two people 6 miles round trip is a whopping $16!!! That is more than the movies themselves if you catch a matinee! That is the reason I go to the Redwood City movie theater instead. Fix the public transportation and you fix that problem.

I am going to look forward to learning every detail of this project so that we will know what we are getting and possibly won't have to look back and wonder how we got yet another project full of surprises that most of us don't like.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

The problem is that the council doesn't know what it wants. None of them are planners or have any clue about running a business. I doubt any if any of them have attended a movie there. They shoot from the hip. I have talked with staff and have been told that most of the current retail is failing there. I don't know whats the best use of the land there but I know that anyone investing millions of dollars has a better chance of getting it right compared to those who are risking nothing.


Posted by serrano, a resident of Gemello
on Sep 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

It is horrible the way the Mountain View is turning out. I wish MountainView could remain a small town. With Google located here, this town has become a big monstrous city. I like the Mountain View of early 1990s with no bar or pub in downtown. Unfortunately, the vultures has taken over this town and it is no longer a nice town. Too much developments, too many cars, too much traffic, too many pets, too many children, too much garbage, too many people everywhere, long lines at restaurants,etc...it has become a 3rd world country.


Posted by Rob, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm

To Politcal Insider,
What makes you think that "staff" has any idea whats happening
on North Shoreline ?
I do not believe any staff live in the area
City staff are only around Shoreline Mon - Fri from 8 am until 4 pm
I assure you that those businesses in North Shoreline that are doing
well are doing so because they have adapted to market conditions
and not because of any staff or city involvement.


Posted by erika c, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

call ICE!!!!!!!!


Posted by badplanning, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm

@Rob: You have a good point regarding the . City staff has made so many mistakes, including horrible concrete paved developments, inability to make a correct decison on a downtown city tree, draconian signage requirements on castro to the detriment of small business, failure to vette traffic study contractors,... the list goes on and on.

@political insider: you don't know what you are talking about, so why keep talking? people are not upset about 'getting things right' in the way you mean, which is monetary profit to the landowner & developer. Getting things right should be about what is best for the community as a whole, while balancing the needs/desires of the landowner. Just allowing the landowner to build monstrosities would certainly increase their profit, but they damage the livability of the city. Unrestricted free-market theory has proven time and time again to destroy communities. That's why we have democratically elected individuals to build and guide a governmental staff to the needs of the residents.
I know you will never agree and will berate anyone who disagrees with you.

@Jim Neal: Run again sometime!!! :)


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm

@ badplanning,

"Getting things right should be about what is best for the community as a whole, while balancing the needs/desires of the landowner."

So how would a bureaucrat obtain the information necessary to evaluate the benefits and costs of development and determine whats best for the community?

"Unrestricted free-market theory has proven time and time again to destroy communities. That's why we have democratically elected individuals to build and guide a governmental staff to the needs of the residents.

Name a city where free-market theory has destroyed a community? Having choices is better than government dictates.


"I know you will never agree and will berate anyone who disagrees with you."

If pointing out the flaws of your argument and providing superior ones is berating you , then guilty as charged. You failed to address my arguments and point out the flaws in them. Instead you make sweeping unsubstantiated claims about a process you know very little about.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm

@ badplanning,

Oh and by the way be careful what you wish for. I have heard Mr Neal speak before council. He appears very free market. He opposed the cigarette bans on private property and also opposed banning grocery stores from providing free plastic bags.



Posted by psa188, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Mr. Neal sounds like a smart guy.


Posted by badplanning, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

@political notinsider:

"So how would a bureaucrat obtain the information necessary to evaluate the benefits and costs of development and determine whats best for the community?"

That's a great question and I'm glad you asked. By hiring a city manager that can best build and improve a staff that will be creative and perceptive to not only the needs of landowners & developers, but also the residents. The council members should bring their own experiences and knowledge of MV to this task.

"Name a city where free-market theory has destroyed a community?."

I probably should have said, seriously damaged the livability of communities, which to me means "destroyed". There are plenty of examples. Basically most urban areas and many suburban ones. And now some parts of MV are impacted. Go live in downtown SJ!!!

"Having choices is better than government dictates"

There is no question that if I can do anything I want, than that is better for me. The problem is that if we extend this "right" to everybody, then while I will be happy to turn my house in a nice quiet neighborhood into a 5 story apartment building and take early retirement, I won't be happy when my neighbor builds a 10 story building next door that ends up falling on me. So, while your comment makes a nice bumper sticker, it really has no meaning in this world.

"Oh and by the way be careful what you wish for. I have heard Mr Neal speak before council. He appears very free market. "

Yes, he is, but if you read carefully his statements in this thread, you might understand what else he brings to the table. Let's pull out these choice nuggets:

"I've heard that too many times before, and seen the result of what happens when Government passes something in a hurry before anyone can read it to find out what's in it."

"To me, these small businesses are like the burrowing owls of our business community and must be protected against the 800 lb. business gorillas who might destroy them, even inadvertently."

and my favorite:

"I am going to look forward to learning every detail of this project so that we will know what we are getting and possibly won't have to look back and wonder how we got yet another project full of surprises that most of us don't like."

Read that again, "…wonder how we got yet another project full of surprises that most of us don't like."

This tells me that he cares about the community and not just maximizing profits for landowners and developers. He believes in open government. I don't agree with the plastic ban and cigs in bars, but frankly those laws can be passed, repealed and passed again. Once you develop land a certain way, it is pretty much forever going to be like that. I think Jim Neal being a true long term resident would be a welcome change to the absentee landowners trying to squeak every last dollar out of this community.



Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2013 at 2:19 pm

@ badplanning,


"The council members should bring their own experiences and knowledge of MV to this task."

A good city manager is a start We had a good one for over 30 years. Did Mr Duggan destroy the city as you allege? The current council lacks the experience necessary to make good decisions. Most are community organizers and have never run a multi-million dollar company. What are their guiding principles to decide whats best for the city. You failed to answer my question.

"Name a city where free-market theory has destroyed a community?."

I probably should have said, seriously damaged the livability of communities, which to me means "destroyed". There are plenty of examples. Basically most urban areas and many suburban ones. And now some parts of MV are impacted. Go live in downtown SJ!!!

I have been to downtown SJ. its a nice place. A non answer by claiming most urban and suburban areas are destroyed? BTW, none of these practiced free market economics, so are you blaming the bureaucrats who planned city growth?

"Having choices is better than government dictates"

There is no question that if I can do anything I want, than that is better for me. The problem is that if we extend this "right" to everybody, then while I will be happy to turn my house in a nice quiet neighborhood into a 5 story apartment building and take early retirement, I won't be happy when my neighbor builds a 10 story building next door that ends up falling on me. So, while your comment makes a nice bumper sticker, it really has no meaning in this world.

A silly argument. No one is proposing to build a 10 story building in an area zoned R1. Freedom of choice is more than a bumper sticker. Tell that to the people living in Syria

"Oh and by the way be careful what you wish for. I have heard Mr Neal speak before council. He appears very free market. ":


'This tells me that he cares about the community and not just maximizing profits for landowners and developers. He believes in open government. I don't agree with the plastic ban and cigs in bars, but frankly those laws can be passed, repealed and passed again. Once you develop land a certain way, it is pretty much forever going to be like that. I think Jim Neal being a true long term resident would be a welcome change to the absentee landowners trying to squeak every last dollar out of this community."

He's still free market. Notice he wants less govt. Whats the alternative? More government intrusion? . Land gets redeveloped all of the time. Only housing never changes.



Posted by badplanner, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm

politicalinsider says: "Freedom of choice is more than a bumper sticker. Tell that to the people living in Syria"

100,000+ people dead, use of chemical weapons and a dictator in power. How can you possibly compare wanting to keep our community livable with living in Syria?

The rest of your points are specious at best and not worth responding to. I feel sad for the city that you say you were a planner for. It's also interesting you don't live there! Gee, I wonder why?


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm

@ badplanner,

politicalinsider says: "Freedom of choice is more than a bumper sticker. Tell that to the people living in Syria"

100,000+ people dead, use of chemical weapons and a dictator in power. How can you possibly compare wanting to keep our community livable with living in Syria?

Its the same principle of allowing free choice vs govt coercion. You claim specious arguments but the truth is, you cant respond to superior arguments. You couldn't name a city that used free markets in land use. (BTW, there is one [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment.])


Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@politicalinsider & @badplanning - Quite a lively debate between you two! Thanks badplanning for your support! I hope that I will have the opportunity to represent you both next year. My concern is the community as a whole and trying to preserve the quality of life in MV while still allowing for the growth and change that is necessary. It is a very delicate balancing act, but the approach must be one of balance. I judge each situation on its merits. When I am on the council, I hope that you both will provide me with feedback like this and remain involved in the city's decision making process.


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Posted by hmmph, a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Political Insider = former council member and free market "the only economist in the room"


Posted by Bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Jim Neal got my vote for the exact reason that he opposed the plastic bag ban. It was like telling the emperor he had no clothes. I still haven't found an adequate replacement for scooping the cat litter. I also see many stubborn shoppers dropping things on the way to their cars after refusing to pay $0.10 for a crappy paper sack.

I'm glad Council decided to give this proposal the benefit of a precise plan. I wish they had done the same for the San Antonio Change Area. Traffic seems to be getting much worse with the new Safeway and apartments. The foot traffic crossing at Fayette causes long backups on San Antonio now. Maybe they should have built a pedestrian bridge like they have in Las Vegas. It is probably too late to ask for it now.


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