Google is poised to redevelop 120 acres of Mountain View into dense, urban neighborhoods packed with 7,000 new homes, next door to its headquarters and central offices.
Google officials submitted a preliminary version of its North Bayshore master plan to the city, laying out its vision for reshaping the city's bayside tech park. If approved, it would single-handedly increase the city's total housing stock by close to 20%, double the city's available affordable housing and stand in stark contrast to the low-lying suburbs elsewhere on the Peninsula.
Though it's an early version subject to change, representatives from Google say it's an ambitious opportunity to work with Mountain View on its housing goals.
"Google is committed to helping the community in which we work to recover from the pandemic and solve some of our most pressing problems," said Google real estate director Michael Tymoff. "We really see North Bayshore as an opportunity to do just that."
The scope of the master plan is massive: The proposal calls for razing low-density office buildings and replacing them with 7,000 new housing units -- including a mix of rental and for-sale homes -- of which 1,400 will be affordable housing. New offices would be built to the north along Charleston Road, with a goal of building a net increase of 1.3 million square feet of office space.
The development largely follows the zoning blueprint passed by the city in 2017, which allows for density far beyond what is allowed in most of Mountain View. At its tallest, the master plan calls for buildings up to 15 stories tall. Much of the density will be oriented around transit corridors, specifically Shoreline Boulevard and Charleston Road, with an emphasis on public transit.
The city's so-called Precise Plan for North Bayshore was created with Google in mind, since it is the largest property owner in the area. In 2019, the tech giant submitted an application for developing North Bayshore with 5,760 homes, but has since acquired more property and reconfigured the plan to add more than 1,000 additional units.
The fate of the "gateway" project on the southern end of North Bayshore is less certain, complicated by the property's split ownership between Google and SyWest.
Tymoff said the close proximity between homes and offices means Google employees could very well live within walking and biking distance from work, easing the traffic bottlenecks into the area north of Highway 101 that used to cause long commute delays prior to the pandemic.
"The opportunity is to provide people who are currently working in North Bayshore the choice to live closer to work," Tymoff said. "It's one of the most effective ways to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions."
The master plan identifies three individual neighborhoods in North Bayshore -- dubbed Joaquin, Shorebird, and Pear -- each with its own unique identity and appearance. Shorebird, east of Shoreline Boulevard and north of Space Park Way, will have the heart of the area's retail space, a grocery store and a proposed new school campus.
City officials have insisted that Google provide local school districts with either funds or land to construct new schools, which will be necessary as Mountain View's population climbs due to the housing growth. Mountain View Whisman School District board member have been less than thrilled with Google's past proposed school locations, however, raising concerns that the sites would be too small and crammed next to high-rise buildings.
The latest offer on the east end of the Shorebird neighborhood is 4 acres in size, larger than past proposals but still much smaller than existing schools in Mountain View.
Google's recently submitted plans include more than a million square feet of additional office space, despite uncertainty about the company's future needs for work space. Partially due to COVID-19 and the temporary shift to remote working, many companies are re-evaluating how much office space they actually need, raising questions last year over whether the Google Landings project will actually get built.
The preliminary master plan is expected to come before the Mountain View City Council for review and public feedback in late March. Below are key components of the plan.
• 7,000 new residential units
• 20% affordable housing (1,400 units)
• For-sale and rental homes ranging from studios to three-bedroom units
• Designed and developed by partner company LendLease
• 3 million square feet total of office space
• 1.3 million "net new" offices, allocated through the North Bayshore Precise Plan
• Designed and developed by Google
• 34-plus acres of total open space
• 18 acres of land dedicated for city parks, recreation and habitat restoration
• 7.6 acres of privately owned, public open space
• 9 acres of other trails and open space
Retail and community
• 265,000 square feet of retail space including a grocery store, shops, dining and services
• 20,000 square feet for an "urban ecology" education center
• Retail center designed and developed by partner company LendLease
• 4-acre site dedicated for a public elementary school