In March 2022, Vallco property owner submitted new plans for a taller project, rebranded as “The Rise”, entitled “The Rise SB35 Planning Modification Application”.
You can check the detailed plan on the Cupertino city webside on Vallco SB35 project page.
Here is a summary of “The Rise” (more information will be added later)
- Seven tall towers more than 200ft high
- All seven towers are over 20-stories high.
- About 10~13 stories for the other buildings on site.
Want to know why the Vallco developer can build much taller than other places in Cupertino? It was because we had a pro-developer majority City Council before 2018. They ignored the community inputs, supported uncontrolled growth and removed the building height limit and density limit from the Vallco site. Such thing was never happened in any other city in California. You can read about Vallco Rezone history to learn the details.
- Less retail area comparing to the existing plan
- Retail square footage in the former Vallco mall was 1,200,000 sqft.
- The previous plan proposed by Sand Hill (Measure D in 2016) had 655,000 sqft retail area.
- Retail square footage dropped more than 30% in “The Rise” comparing to 2016. The loss of retails from the previous plan is about the size of the Safeway store on Homestead Road.
- More office space
- About 2,000,000 sqft in “The Rise”
- California State promoted SB35 in the name of solving the “housing crisis”. But with 2,000,000 sqft of office on site, and only 2400 housing in the Vallco SB35 plan, Cupertino will have a worse housing shortage, and will have to build about 5000 more new housing units to match the giant office building.
- More crowded BMR unit floorplan. For example, 5 compact units sharing one kitchen.
- The so-called “green roof”
- It has a complete different look in the ads of “the Rise”, when you look at the real site map
- The “green roof” is now those zig-zag lines along parking structures.
- The developer touted a 30-acre green roof while in their SB 35 application doc, they only claimed a 13.97 acres public park. Even for the limited public park area, it’s still unclear if our city needs to maintain it? And it’s unclear how the public could access it.
- The Vallco developer SHP (Sand Hill Property) once put a green-roof in its previous plan in 2016. But this so-called community benefit would expire in 10 years. That means, if the developer didn’t finish the project in 10 years, they can give up the green-roof without violating any rules. Actually, SHP claimed to provide community benefits and then failed to provide them in other bay area cities several times.
- The water usage for a green roof will be much more than maintaining the same sized lawn on the ground. Does this design really fit California? We already have severe drought issues throughout our State.
- The maintenance fee for a green roof is very high, so, even the world famous company, Facebook, dropped their original “green roof” plan, and turned it to a “brown roof” to lower water and other maintenance cost. Don’t forget that the Facebook building with a “green roof” is only two-story high. Do you really believe a developer would maintain a green roof on top of 14~25 story high buildings for public for free?
You can learn more about challenges of green roof in these articles: