Hotel at Stern and Stevens Creek Blvd

Dec 2017 update:

The City of San Jose held a community input meeting on Dec 11, 2017.

Public notice is posted here:

At the meeting, the developer announced changes to the plans - 168-178 rooms instead of 132 rooms, and 7 stories instead of 6 stories, plus 4 underground levels of parking. There will be 99 parking spaces, for 168 rooms, which implies many guests will be parking in the neighborhood streets.

Unfortunately, the community must remain vigilant even after a developer presents "plans", as they are frequently upsized, even though in private emails below Marriot and developer lobbyist Erik Schoennauer stated that 6 stories was financially feasible. We applaud the neighborhood and Cupertino Mayor Paul for representing the community at the meeting.

Aug 2017 update:

Scott Herhold (Mercury News) published a commentary about lobbyist Erik Schoennauer encouraging San Jose staff to not play nice with neighbors.

July 2017 update:

Previously we shared about Erik Schoennauer, the San Jose "hired-gun" developer lobbyist who is representing the hotel developer who is proposing to build a hotel on a tiny parcel at Stern and Stevens Creek Blvd. Take note of some choice quotes from an email exchange between lobbyist Schonennauer and city staff in justifying the setback changes:

  • Tax revenues: "Furthermore, our site is located at the city limit line with Cupertino. From an economic development perspective for San Jose, our project would clearly draw tax revenue from Cupertino. This is the kind of "border" development that San Jose needs. San Jose should be tripping over themselves to approve this project to benefit from the economic activity around Apple's new headquarters."
  • In an opening shot for negotiations, his email says "To make the project feasible, we need to have 6 full stories above grade," and even then he doesn't provide data to back up his claim. No one from staff has questioned this assertion, leaving it up to residents to challenge the assumption of feasibility.
  • Planning staff appears to be accommodating the developer, yet not accommodating residents: "We appreciate that it sounds like Staff wants to assist with revisions [to standards] that will allow a 6-story hotel design on our site. It would be helpful if you could send us revised text or language that you are suggesting..."

The plans are posted here. (Note as of Dec 2017, these are now outdated, as the hotel is now 7 stories)

Stern Hotel InitialSetofPlans.pdf

A new 6 7 story, 90 foot tall hotel is proposed at Stern and Stevens Creek Blvd, at the current Shell gas station, the "gateway" to the Stevens Creek Urban Village bordering Cupertino's Rancho Rinconada neighborhood. The property is only 0.4 acres at 5956 Stevens Creek Blvd - how can a 90 foot tall 7 story hotel be built without intruding on the privacy of the neighboring residences?

A Cupertino Planning Commissioner claims it has not been announced, so residents have no cause for concern. Evidently this planning commissioner either doesn't believe what residents have heard, or hasn't bothered to verify. Below is the information we have to date - we will continue to post as more information is released:

  • Developer lobbyist Erik Schoennauer represents the developer of the property at Stern and Stevens Creek, and spoke about the hotel at the May 24th 2017 San Jose planning commission meeting during public comments (transcript here). Below is a summary of what he said (some mistakes corrected for readability):

>>> good evening, Chair Abelite, members of the commission. I'm Erik Schoennauer. I represent the Oliver family at the corner of Stevens Creek and Stern, which is the e-mail that i sent you all about the commercial adjacency challenge. I strongly encourage the commission to adopt the two recommended changes by staff tonight. Those resolved the issues of concern that we had so we very much thank staff for listening and proposing a solution that will work and just briefly on the screen is the Oliver family's service station. And we want to take a gas station. Imagine this, getting rid of a gas station and building an A.C. Marriott Hotel at the gateway to the Stevens Creek Urban Village. With this plan and with the policies in it, we will be able to achieve that on the site and look forward to doing that later in the year. Thank you.

To make a hotel work on such a small parcel, they would like to build very tall, but that isn't possible if the original proposed setback standards were followed. So, they got staff to make it a guideline instead of a standard. That's why he thanked the city staff at the May 24th San Jose planning commission meeting. Below is a summary of the revisions presented by city staff to accommodate the hotel developer.

  • The "Oliver family" is not a local family, despite Mr. Schoennauer's PR spin of a "family service station." The "Oliver Hotel Group, LLC" bills itself as a "hospitality development, ownership, asset management and consulting platform." The developer's name is Hunter Oliver.

  • The property at the corner of Stern and Stevens Creek was acquired by Oliver Hotel Group in Feb 2017 for $2.3M, or $5.75M per acre (see documents below). It is highly unlikely a hotel developer would pay millions for the privilege of running a service station! (edit: We've been told that Oliver Holdings acquired the property with a "second buyer" in 2013 under foreclosure.)
5696 Stern property history.pdf

The developer's lobbyist Erik Schoennauer likely doesn't come cheap. Just look at his history:

In a regular Saturday morning phone call, Mayor Sam Liccardo seeks advice from two registered lobbyists, two former city councilmen and a San Francisco consultant — a “kitchen cabinet” he’s taken pains to hide from the public.

Liccardo’s private conference call ... includes ... land use lobbyist Erik Schoennauer...

Satisfying demand by supplanting low-density real estate with taller, more populated mixed-use developments casts existing tenants into a brutal market. Nowhere is that problem more pronounced right now than at The Reserve, where some 670 residents have less than a year to get out. By the city’s count, it appears to be the largest eviction in Silicon Valley history—possibly the state’s... only households making less than 80 percent of the region’s median income qualify [for assistance]. The 40 or so units that meet the threshold stand to gain three months’ rent, a refunded security deposit and help from a “relocation specialist” to scout out a new place. Tenants who are older than 62, disabled or have at least one child who lives with and depends on them get another $3,000. “This was voluntary on our part,” says Greystar lobbyist Erik Schoennauer. ... “I really don’t characterize this as a negotiation,” Schoennauer says. “I would characterize it as a dialogue. We’re volunteering to do this.”

Rocketship’s registered Lobbyist, Erik Schoennauer has two main clients: Bay 101 Casino and Rocketship Education. We at are concerned that he may not always have the best interests of the community at heart.

And just what does an AC Hotel by Marriot usually look like? Here are some examples.

AC Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina

AC Hotel in San Jose

AC Hotel Tuscon, AZ