Peruvian eatery takes prime lease at Mountain View pedestrian mall

Sand Hill Property's Peter and Susanna Pau; 800 California Street, Mountain View (Google Maps)
Sand Hill Property's Peter and Susanna Pau; 800 California Street, Mountain View (Google Maps)

The city of Mountain View will soon get crispy Peruvian chicken to stop pedestrians in their tracks Downtown.

Peruvian restaurant Limón Rotisserie will set up shop at the gateway to a slow-streets experiment in which the city closed off Castro Street to cars, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.

The San Francisco-based chain will take the prime corner in an 8,000-square-foot ground floor lease at 800 California Street, facing the pedestrian-only Castro promenade.

The Mission District-born restaurant, led by executive chef Martín Castillo and brothers Eduardo and Antonio, has been on fire since it opened in 2002 – with two eateries in San Francisco, and locations in Walnut Creek, Burlingame and Oakland.

Its signature draw: marinated chicken with crispy skin, served with aji sauce.

The Peruvian hangout will be the first new restaurant tenant at Sand Hill Property’s three-story, 28,000-square-foot building, which sports a large clock facing the intersection. Financial terms of the lease were not disclosed.

An affiliate of the Palo Alto-based developer bought the building for $31.3 million from Peninsula Land & Capital a year ago. The deal came out to $1,118 per square foot.

The former landlord, Peninsula Land & Capital, had sued the former ground-floor restaurant tenant, Flights, in 2020 for back rent of $27,000 per month in spite of Santa Clara County’s ban on evictions at the time. The restaurant later closed.

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Flights, led by CEO Alex Hult, opened in downtown Mountain View in 2018 and still maintains outposts in Campbell and Burlingame.

After more than two years of allowing a few blocks of Castro Street businesses to use the street for outdoor dining, the Mountain View City Council voted last month to move toward a permanent pedestrian mall, according to Mountain View Voice.

The city had closed part of Castro Street to vehicle traffic in June 2020, following the lead of cities like Palo Alto that made similar moves in response to the pandemic. The Castro StrEATs program, to be reconsidered in October, creates a car-free promenade from the 100 to 300 blocks of the street.

Sand Hill Property, led by Peter and Susanna Pau, has been active in a renewal of Peninsula downtowns, following the pandemic downturn.

Last month, Peter Pau paid $10 million for a renovated, 15,000-square-foot building in Downtown Palo Alto occupied by an outgoing Restoration Hardware store. Pau and Sand Hill Property are betting on a retail recovery with plans to find a new tenant for the building.

Sand Hill Property, a real estate development and investment firm founded in 1988, has invested in more than 65 projects totaling 20 million square feet in Silicon Valley, from stand-alone retail stores to multi-use city centers, according to its website.

It expects to break ground soon on a $4 billion redevelopment of a former mall in Cupertino, where it plans to build a retail village of 2,400 homes, half of them affordable, with nearly 2 million square feet of offices, labs, shops and restaurants.

— Dana Bartholomew

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