October 1, 2014| Silicon Valley Business Journal| Link


Drive past the Sunnyvale Town Center today, and it looks much the same as it did four years ago: unfinished.

The 36-acre mixed-use project — located in some of the most desirable real estate in all of Silicon Valley — has been stalled for years thanks to a complicated court battle between its developer and the bank that owns it. It’s an incongruous sight in Sunnyvale, whose commercial real estate sector has been the envy of the Bay Area during the recovery.

Now city officials, led by new city managerDeanna Santana, are aiming to raise the pressure on both sides of the dispute — developer Sand Hill Property Co. and current owner Wells Fargo — to come to some kind of a resolution.

At the same time, city planners are studying a change to the project that could make the property more attractive to a potential buyer, they say, by increasing the amount of office and residential space and slimming down the retail.

The moves are unlikely to resolve the complex issues in short order. But they show renewed focus by the city on the incomplete project, slated to boast more than two million square feet of commercial space and housing, including more than 900,000 square feet of retail and 300 housing units.

“While it does look like we’ve been in a holding period, today’s my three-month anniversary (and) I would like to assure you I’ve been very active on this topic,” Santana told a frustrated city council earlier this month, during a session on the council’s goals for the coming year.

The project’s on-hold status has become a persistent thorn in the side of Sunnyvale officials. At the city council meeting, some council members sounded exasperated at the prospect of the town center sitting idle for years longer — a real possibility given the sluggish progress of the lawsuit through an overburdened court system.

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