El Camino Development Projects – Two Down, One to Go?

El Camino Development Projects – Two Down, One to Go?

By Robert Haugh

Since the November elections, we’ve seen a huge change in how development projects are getting approved or denied by the City Council, as well as growing engagement and opposition to high-density projects by the community.

We ponder the fate of a future project: the Mariani’s Inn, Residences & Senior Living Project. So let’s compare the numbers.

Summary of Recent Projects

Summerhill Homes (2232-2240 El Camino Real)

  • 151 rental apartments
  • 55 units per acre (maximum allowed) with five stories with some commercial.
  • Disapproved by a 4-3 Council vote, despite being within General Plan guidelines for the El Camino Real Focus Area and transit use.  The council didn’t like the height and wanted more retail. Our sources say it’ll come back in a different form.

Moonlite Lanes by Prometheus (2780 El Camino Real)

  • 151  rental apartments
  • 55 units per acre (maximum allowed) with six stories with no commercial.
  • The project was withdrawn by the developer due to “unexpected” community opposition. Our sources say it’ll come back in a different form.

Mariani’s Inn, Residences & Senior Living Project (2500 El Camino Real)


  • 392 multi-family and senior residential units. Plus the promise to refurbish the existing hotel on the parcel across Buchanan Drive.
  • 118 units per acre on five stories.  The density is dramatically higher than the other El Camino developments because the developer is trying to take the density from the hotel parcel and add it to the housing parcel, more than doubling the allowable density.
  • This project had a scoping meeting and our sources say it’s likely to come to the council in about nine months. Sources also say it’s D.O.A. There’s strong neighborhood opposition, the developer has made major political mistakes, and no one is buying  the “creative” idea of  transferring density from the hotel parcel to the housing parcels.

Editor’s Note: We’ve asked Lou Mariani to write an opinion piece for his project. He hasn’t responded yet. We’ve also asked him to confirm that Santa Clara Weekly Publisher Miles Barber is lobbying for his project. Neither he, nor Miles have responded.



  1. Unfortunately for Santa Clara, that site is now a slum. High rate of police activity, including drug overdoses and prostitution busts weekly. Instead the Mariani family wants to build expensive new next-generation housing for the young tech workforce?? First world problems comes to mind when I think about those NIMBY neighbors….

    • NIMBY? is that the best you can do? Really?

      I live a few hundred feet from the property, where do you live? It is a dump in regards to the upkeep, Lou has not kept the place up, shame on him. I do not see police there for anything, let alone for drugs or hookers.

      The police have told me it is not the problem on El Cam. But what do they know, they should ask Ted.
      At this point it does need to be replaced, but with what? Whatever Lou wants to build? BS.

      They could replace both lots with new apts that meet the general plan or a nice new hotel. A nice hotel, well built to be neighbor friendly, would be great with traffic and parking issues much less than high density apts. And the city benefits from hotels much more than apts.

      Instead of playing your NIMBY card, look at the situation.

  2. Lou Mariani has divided the project into phase one and phase two. but I am convinced phase two is just a head faint and the chances of it being built to look like the plan is slight. Lou told me at one point he believed the 315 units (96 units/acre) would be well received by the neighbors and he would put up an even larger apt complex on the site now referred to as phase two.
    My point is, if they received approval and a rezoning of PD I believe there is nothing to legally obligate him to build according to the plan. in five years.

  3. The Mariani development is HUGE compared to the other ones. I hope every councilmember reads this before voting. They should send the plans to some slumlord in San Fran to develop.

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