The Mountain View City Council has granted final approval for Google's ambitious North Bayshore project, marking a significant milestone for the city. The approved plan includes the construction of 7,000 new homes, 3 million square feet of office space, and over 26 acres of parks and open spaces. With unanimous support from the council, this project is set to be the largest development ever undertaken in Mountain View.
A Transformation from Office Park to Complete Neighborhood
The North Bayshore Master Plan, spearheaded by Google, aims to transform the North Bayshore area from a suburban office park into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood. The plan envisions creating a complete community by incorporating residential units, office spaces, and ample recreational areas. This vision aligns with the city's decision in 2015 to allow residential development in the area.
Affordable Housing Concerns
While the June 13 approval was unanimous, some council members expressed concerns about the reduced number of affordable homes in the project. Initially, developers Google and LendLease had targeted 1,400 affordable units out of the 7,000 total homes. However, in a recent version of the master plan, the inclusion of 350 affordable units was removed due to financial constraints. The developers maintain that these changes were necessary to ensure the project's feasibility given the current economic climate.
Commitment to Affordable Housing
Although the number of affordable units has been reduced to the minimum requirement, the development agreement now includes provisions to explore the inclusion of more affordable homes in the future. The agreement emphasizes voluntary collaboration between the developer and city staff, allowing for the possibility of adding affordable units if financially feasible. Council members welcomed this collaborative approach and expressed their commitment to holding the developers accountable for their promises.
Community Benefits and Amenities
While the reduction in affordable housing is a concern, the North Bayshore project offers various community benefits and amenities. In addition to the extensive parkland and open spaces, the developers will contribute $112 million in in-lieu fees to meet the city's parkland requirements. Furthermore, a 4.1-acre parcel of land valued at $48 million will be dedicated to the city for a future elementary school site. The project's public benefits package, valued at $18.5 million, will fund public art and activation programs within the commercial spaces of the development.
A Positive Outlook for Mountain View
The unanimous approval of Google's North Bayshore project has generated optimism and excitement among the council members and the public. Mayor Alison Hicks expressed her confidence in the transformation that lies ahead, emphasizing the positive impact the project will have on the city over the next 30 years. While acknowledging the challenges and the need for accountability, council members emphasized that this milestone marks just the beginning of a significant journey for the community.
Google's North Bayshore project has received the green light from the Mountain View City Council, making it the largest development in the city's history. With a focus on creating a complete neighborhood, this ambitious project will introduce thousands of homes, office spaces, and extensive parkland. While concerns about affordable housing were raised, the development agreement includes provisions for future collaboration between the developers and the city to address this issue. As the project moves forward, Mountain View looks forward to the positive transformation that lies ahead.