According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the future of the Vallco Shopping Mall located near Apple's headquarters is currently being fought over via the ballot box. The mall is mostly empty of tenants and occupies 1.2 million square feet of underused space. The Sand Hill Property Co., a development company has been working on transforming the mall into nearly 2 million square feet of office space, more than 2,400 housing units and a 400,000-square-foot retail center since 2014.
Thousands of Cupertino residents have fought back. In 2016, Sand Hill Property submitted a ballot measure to win support for one version of the project, while opponents had a measure that banned office space and housing on the site and kept the retail size the same. Both measures were rejected by voters, throwing the project into limbo.
The notion of replacing Vallco with another mall seems utterly unrealistic: A quarter of America’s 1,100 shopping malls are expected to close within five years. Opponents, who formed a group called Better Cupertino, say the project will exacerbate traffic, which is already miserable in the wake of Apple Park’s opening. The added office space will also worsen the region’s jobs-housing imbalance, they say.
“The rate of office growth is a lot faster than it used to be. It’s unsustainable,” said Liang Chao, co-founder of Better Cupertino and a City Council candidate who appears headed for election with some votes left to count. “When you talk about growth, it’s like our body. If I overeat, I’m overweight. Now, shall I continue to eat? You need healthy growth.”