Contractor, Google End Mixed-Use Agreement
On Friday (Nov. 3), contractor Lendlease and Google announced a mutual agreement to end Development Services Agreements for four master-planned districts in California.
The Mountain View City Council had unanimously approved the Google North Bayshore Master Plan, the largest proposed development in the city’s history, back in June.
The project was reportedly anticipated to create a mixed-use neighborhood that covers 153 acres near Google’s headquarters.
Mountain View Development Plans
The City of Mountain View says that the plan has been in the making for over a decade. Google had previously submitted its development application in September 2021.
According to reports at the time, the area currently consists of mainly offices, which will all be demolished for the new buildings to be constructed. The city reported that this would include:
Additionally, as part of the approvals included in the 30-year Development Agreement and a Tentative Map, Google planned to create 37 new parcels including 7,000 condominium lots, 360 commercial condominium lots and 526 vertical lots. The council also certified a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report, adopting a statement of overriding considerations.
Google added that it will be focusing on four guiding principles during the project, including community, nature, innovation and economics. The proposal was reportedly informed by City and community feedback, as well as stakeholder meetings, working directly with the city and community leadership and meeting with environmental, housing, resident and transportation groups.
Of the 7,000 new homes, ranging from studios to 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units, 15% will be affordable housing, which roughly doubles the amount of affordable housing in Mountain View currently. This reportedly aligns with Google’s commitment of $1 billion to enable at least 20,000 homes across the Bay Area over 10 years.
In terms of mobility, Google plans to create over 3.5 miles of new walking and cycling trains, with all housing and offices centered around public transit. These plans, the tech giant says, are to encourage people to get out of their cars and to get people to think and act differently about how they move around in a more sustainable way.
Public open spaces in the plan are aimed at benefiting human health and experiencing nature. Google notes that, additionally, the North Bayshore Precise Plan calls for preservation and enhancement of ecological areas, prioritizing environmental conservation.
The retail and community spaces will reportedly include a mix of shops, restaurants, services and entertainment, as well as a series of accessible parks and open spaces for education, relaxation, art, events and play. Google also plans to provide funding for public art.
Finally, looking at sustainability, Google is currently working on fully decarbonizing its electricity supply to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. The latest development plans will require the LEED Platinum standard for all offices, and GreenPoint rated 120+ standard for all residential buildings.
These plans also reportedly involve solar photovoltaic panels and electric vehicle charging stations for all buildings, utilizing cross laminated timber construction and district systems strategies, resilience planning for flooding risks and heat, and carbon sequestration and carbon reduction strategies.
Work on the project is anticipated to be ongoing over the next 30 years.
Previously, Google announced plans in 2020 to develop a new 40-acre mixed-use project in Mountain View, California. The Middlefield Park Master Plan includes 1.3 million square feet of office space, up to 1,850 housing units, 30,000 square feet of retail, 20,000 square feet of event space and 12 acres of open space.
The neighborhood where the project will be located, East Whisman, was reportedly rezoned for residential use and taller buildings (95 feet) in late 2019. This plan’s six residential buildings will total between 1,675 and 1,850 units with a combination of rent and ownership, with 20% of them set aside of affordable housing.
A price tag for the project had not been released.
In addition to the two Mountain View locations, development plans were cancelled for San Jose and Sunnyvale areas as well.
According to a release from Lendlease, the decision to end these agreements followed a comprehensive review by Google of its real estate investments, finding that the existing agreements are no longer mutually beneficial given current market conditions.
However, as part of the decision to end these agreements, Lendlease will receive a payment in consideration for value created through the entitlement and master planning process.
In an email to SFGATE at the beginning of the week, Google confirmed that it does intend to move forward with mixed-use development plans in Silicon Valley without Lendlease.
“Instead, Google will broaden its relationships and work with both developers and capital partners to move the Bay Area developments forward,” a spokesperson for Google said.
“As we’ve shared before, we’ve been optimizing our real estate investments in the Bay Area, and part of that work is looking at a variety of options to move our development projects forward and deliver on our housing commitment,” Alexa Arena, a Senior Director of Development at Google, told the Wall Street Journal. “We appreciate Lendlease and the work the team has done to get us to this point.”