An artist's rendering of Google's planned Charleston East campus in the North Bayshore area of Mountain View (City of Mountain View).
December 13, 2017

San Jose Mercury News: Google’s massive housing and office plan wins approval


On Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council unanimously voted to approve the North Bayshore Precise Plan, including 9850 units of housing, 20% of which will be affordable. The adoption of the plan culminates almost three years of planning for development of the new neighborhood. SV@Home has been advocating for housing in North Bayshore throughout the process, and we are glad to see Mountain View stepping up to address our region’s housing crisis. We were also encouraged by the broad coalition who joined us at the city council meeting to advocate for the plan’s adoption, including housing activists, union members, business owners, tech employees, and many longtime Mountain View residents.

Last night was a big win for housing in Silicon Valley. Let’s keep the momentum going and challenge other cities to step up to do their part!  SV@Home Deputy Director Pilar Lorenzana’s comment to the Mercury underscores the magnitude of the achievement.

“This is a leap forward for the entire Bay Area,” said Pilar Lorenzana, deputy director of the non-profit. “No other city is trying to add this many homes.”

See the original story at the San Jose Mercury News.

Google-backed massive housing and office plan wins approval

By Louis Hansen

MOUNTAIN VIEW — It’s a Google town.

Mountain View City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved a sweeping redevelopment plan, clearing the way for Google and other developers to create a dense, city-like campus of offices and homes in a housing-starving region.

The new master plan could reshape North Bayshore, home to Google headquarters, into the most ambitious new development in the Bay Area with nearly 10,000 new homes and apartments, about 3.6 million square feet of office space, and a mix of pedestrian-friendly parks, retail shops and businesses.

Advocates say the plan also creates a bold marker for large-scale housing development in the Bay Area, where a booming economy coupled with little new residential development has led to highest-in-the-nation rents and home prices.

Mountain View leaders said they hope to set a new tone for residential development in the Bay Area. Google endorsed the plan at Tuesday night’s six-hour meeting.

Vice mayor Lenny Siegel said the project would address the core issue facing the region. “This is a cutting edge plan that sets a standard,” he said. “Not just for the Bay Area, but for the rest of the country.”

Elected officials in the neighboring cities have discouraged new housing projects, even as major employers in those cities have expanded. According to the housing advocacy group SV@Home, Mountain View has a ratio of 2.7 workers for every housing unit, the second-highest in the region behind Palo Alto, with a ratio of 3.8 workers per home.

“This is a leap forward for the entire Bay Area,” said Pilar Lorenzana, deputy director of the non-profit. “No other city is trying to add this many homes.”

A recent report released by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group found that between 2010 and 2015 the region created about 367,000 jobs while building just 57,000 new homes.

Financial details about the plan, including Mountain View-based Google’s investment, have not been released. Siegel said the full development could take a decade to complete.

Planners envision a redevelopment of the North Bayshore office park into a collection of office buildings, retail shops and entertainment, and three new neighborhoods called Joaquin, Shorebird and Pear. About 150 acres of the project are dedicated to residential development — including single family homes and apartments.

The city will allow up to 9,850 new housing units, with 70 percent targeted for studio or one-bedroom apartments. It also sets a goal to have 20 percent of the apartments be affordable units.

The plan calls for transforming the suburban office park filled with Google employees into a high-density, mixed-used district. Buildings are expected to be taller — up to 8 stories for offices and 15 stories for residential units — and friendlier to pedestrians, cyclists and public transit.

Planners are hopeful the project will alleviate traffic with increased transit opportunities, and by bringing more employees closer to their offices. Although part of the project will be developed by Google, housing will not be restricted to company employees.

Developers have not set a timeline for the various projects, although Lorenzana said Google and other developers are anxious to build.

The city, Google and other developers will come up with a master plan to detail specific phases of the redevelopment. The project is expected to undergo further public hearings.

On Tuesday night, dozens of pro-development residents and advocates packed city council chambers, waving signs reading “9,850 homes, #SayYesNBS.”

Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said more homes for working families have been the top priority for valley businesses for the last 13 years. “Now is the time to move forward,” he said.

Residents near the proposed development urged the city to minimize disruptions, and alert neighbors of road closings and construction.

Siegel, a vocal supporter of the plan, said North Bayshore development would undergo further public hearings. “This is a living document,” he said. “It can be fine-tuned.”

The North Bayshore project is just one part of the digital advertising and search giant’s aggressive plans to expand and develop in Silicon Valley.

Image courtesy of the City of Mountain View and Bay Area News Group.