Council OKs ultra-green offices for Samsung

Samsung's research and development headquarters may be headed to Mountain View soon, after the City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a pair of six-story buildings along Highway 101 at the city's eastern border.

The 385,000-square-foot campus at 625-685 Clyde Avenue may be the greenest office project of its kind in Silicon Valley, according to developer TMG Partners -- a level of sustainability spurred by the city's new general plan.

The offices will provide enough room for over 1,200 employees of Samsung, which has already signed a lease for the building, said Ken Dupee, partner with developer TMG. "It is the most prestigious group at Samsung -- a top-notch group of engineers who will be doing innovative research out of this facility."

The building is designed to meet the highest standard for sustainability, LEED Platinum, and will use 40 percent less energy, 30 less water and produce 50 percent less waste than average office buildings.

"This will be one of the first projects we're aware of that has achieved LEED platinum -- at this scale for office projects -- in the valley," Dupee said.

The size and density is also unprecedented for Mountain View's office parks, with a 1.0 floor area ratio. A 0.3 ratio was more typical of the city's office buildings. The city's general plan allows it in exchange for elements of "highly sustainable development."

For this project, those elements include bike lanes on Clyde and Logue Avenues, filling sidewalk gaps on Clyde Avenue, free transit passes for employees, secure bike parking, showers, a cafeteria and a "last mile" shuttle system to and from the downtown Caltrain station and the nearby light rail station on Middlefield Road. The shuttles will be publicly accessible "for anyone who finds it convenient to ride" and will run every 20 minutes during peak hours.

The shuttle system is expected to grow as other companies in the area -- including Google -- are invited to join a Transit Management Agency.

"The TMA is open to anyone who wants to ride it," Dupee said. "There are no fees collected, no fare, no ID or pass required." All that is required is "if the bus stops and people will get on it."

The shuttles are important because the building's owners must keep 20 percent of the employees out of cars, or face a $100,000 fine, according to the city's conditions for the project. Council members did not go with lower incremental fines proposed by the developer.

The project also includes 1,165 parking spaces and a pair of six-level parking garages, hidden mostly by trees from the neighboring Sunnyvale golf course.

"What I'm worried about is 1,000 additional cars in the city every day," said Council member Jac Siegel. "And there are multiple projects like this going on."

Before voting to approve it, Siegel noted that such projects are behind the ongoing "gentrification of the city" by tech workers willing to pay more for housing near their jobs. The project brings in "well-educated people, which is good," Siegel said, but "it's going to push out lower income people."


Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I had no idea Samsung was coming to town, and in an LEED Platinum building no less. Welcome to Mountain View!

Like this comment
Posted by NW Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm

So the companies that are already in that location (Violin Memory and Access Closure) have to vacate? Were they planning to move elsewhere anyway or is the new development forcing them out?

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm

This is great news, Welcome Samsung and your excellent employees, and the great things you will do.

Hope some of you settle here, make it your home.

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

On a side more, this why we need new business space. We got a lot of great companies here, upstarts and existing. Would hate to see companies leave because the off chance we have to build bigger, better and bolder.

Offices, retail and non tech space is needed.

Like this comment
Posted by Cate
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 22, 2013 at 8:24 am

This is the kind of sustainable development the Council should be pushing for over here at San Antonio. It sounds like Samsung is making an intelligent investment.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

Violin is growing and needs to move to new space. They are already on the prowl.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:50 am

They're going to have to either put up a giant net or make their windows withstand golf balls for people trying to cut the corner of the dogleg on #5 (or who hit a bad slice off the tee)!

Like this comment
Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 23, 2013 at 4:01 am

"The size and density is also unprecedented for Mountain View's office parks, with a 1.0 floor area ratio. A 0.3 ratio was more typical of the city's office buildings."

Still unclear why this is a big deal. Most of these areas are empty and under-utilized. A 1.0 FAR still leaves a lot of open space for a multi-story building.

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Just going to say you have a 40,000 square foot building, single story built in the 60's, looks and feels like a warehouse. Would you want to relocate your growing company to a space that most likely too small or not very pleasant. The building in this part of town are dumpy, and ugly. We have a light rail line near by, this thing most likely was to built to handle the development of new office worker in modern buildings.

Right now it is a single story or 2 story car centered plan. Build the buildings, get a shuttle and hand out free or discounted passes to ride. Extend the light right line right into the San Antonio area.

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