Google outlines vision for major new Mountain View residential development

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joaquin walk
Illustration of Joaquin Walk, part of Google's proposed Mountain View redevelopment initiative

Alphabet/Google has outlined a framework, master plan and automobile-reduction strategy for a new development to the City of Mountain View, where planned office space will be replaced by housing.

The document, A Shared Vision for North Bayshore, says:

We share the city and community’s vision to rethink what North Bayshore can become. The Precise Plan was designed to address vital issues that have only grown more pressing since the plan was approved: a shortage of housing, an ever-increasing gap in affordability, an imbalance between jobs and housing, continued pressures on natural habitat and ecological systems, and congestion created by over-reliance on cars. Each of these problems is difficult in itself. Together, they’ve proven to be almost intractable.

By taking a comprehensive approach to the district and by working together in a spirit of partnership, we have an incredible opportunity to make real progress on these critical challenges. We see a clear path to achieving the Precise Plan’s ambitious goals through the requalification of the city’s remaining office Bonus FAR (Floor Area Allocation), as provided for by the Precise Plan’s Bonus FAR Review Guidelines.

The plan expands on an existing neighborhood initiative that would see the tech giant site’s existing office buildings and parking lot transformed into a “Complete Neighborhood.”

Google says in filings with the city that it would like to convert the land it owns in two existing neighborhoods, transforming unneeded office space into as many as  6,600 new homes, 20 percent of which would be affordable for low-, moderate- and middle-income individuals and families, with 70 percent for rent and the rest for sale.

The company says it would also dedicate more than 35 acres to accessible public space, including pedestrian and bike paths, as well as invest in an expanded community shuttle service and other transportation improvements meant to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Google also plans to build space for retail, small business and community services, as well as a new elementary school.​

The company has asked Mountain View to reallocate 1.1 million square feet of office space already approved for another neighborhood to the target parcel; adopt a four-to-one of square footage between residential and office, respectively; approve a new supplemental transportation impact fee to fund a portion of the proposed transportation improvements; reduce developer impact fees in exchange for providing community benefits; grant a 25-year lease to Google for a company-funded parking structure and amphitheater; and enter into a development agreement with the company that would protect the interests of both Google and Mountain View.

The city approved Google’s housing plan in December 2017, but it now hinges on whether Mountain View will grant the floor area reallocation (FAR), an issue that city officials will take up early next year.

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