The Sand Hill Property Company is moving forward with its plan to build The Hills at Vallco, a new $3 billion sustainable, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood in Cupertino, CA, directly off Interstate 280. The Silicon Valley-based property owner filed an application with the city last month for the project and is awaiting the start of the public approval process.

Designed by the Palo Alto office of Rafael Viñoly Architects, The Hills at Vallco will fulfill Cupertino’s General Plan and will be the heart of the city’s emerging downtown area. It consists of a complete revitalization of the aging Vallco Shopping Mall.

Reed Moulds, managing director, Sand Hill Property Company told me the overall design will integrate seamlessly into the surrounding community and offer easy access to retail, residences, employment, school facilities, town squares, parks, playgrounds and trails. He says the project will also feature the largest park in Cupertino, which will be constructed around and on top of the mall, thus creating the largest green roof in the world.

The 30-acre community park will be constructed with the assistance of Philadelphia, PA-based OLIN Landscape Architects. Moulds says a general contractor will be selected sometime next year. He says that if all goes as scheduled they anticipate breaking ground in 2017 and opening The Hills at Vallco in 2018.

The overall 50-acre project site consists of the demolishing of all of the existing structures at the old mall,  while retaining and relocating several of the existing tenants and uses. Once this is done, several new structures will be built and the project will include 625,000 sq-ft of commercial and civic space, 800 residential units and 2 million sq-ft of office space, along with two town squares and the estimated $300 million green roof.

Moulds says working with the Cupertino community has been the most interesting challenge of the project thus far.

"Before hiring a design team, we conducted an extensive community engagement process focused on how to best redevelop the outdated mall with an eye towards making life in Cupertino even better than it already is," says Moulds. "We hosted 20 community events, met with more than 1,400 residents and business owners and received more than 3,800 suggestions. This feedback included requests for a variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment, open space elements, protecting and improving schools, traffic and connectivity solutions, preserving existing trees and ensuring that the project created a true town center for Cupertino."

He says Sand Hill Property Company is now beginning another round of Open House meetings to let residents learn about the plans and to get their feedback. "It’s a top priority of ours that The Hills at Vallco becomes a true downtown for Cupertino and reflects the needs and wants of residents," he says.

The Hills at Vallco will also target a goal of LEED Platinum certification through the use of sustainable buildings, recycled water, and rainwater recapture, as well as native, drought tolerant and climate responsive landscaping.