News

Council OKs downtown office building

On Tuesday evening the City Council unanimously approved another new downtown office building, a three-story structure built around an oak tree at the corner of Bryant and Dana streets.

The building will replace Dunn's Automotive, Peery Piano academy and a pair of single-family homes. "It's maybe a little too much building for the area, but it really does need to be redeveloped," said council member Jac Siegel, adding that neighbors would no longer have the noise of an auto shop in their neighborhood.

While council members praised its design -- council member Ronit Bryant said she was "thrilled" to see the oak tree saved -- some neighbors and council members had concerns about traffic congestion and parking problems as downtown becomes packed with increasing numbers of people.

Neighbor Kathy Sherman said the driveway entrance and exit onto a narrow portion of Dana Street would increase congestion, and called for the city to limit parking along the street during rush hour. City staff members said the narrowness of the street is beneficial in slowing traffic. And while a traffic study indicated no major impacts, an agreement was made to study actual impacts after the project is built.

Developer Boyd Smith said it was challenging to design the building and the garage around the large oak tree, which has roots and a canopy that protrude 30 feet into the site. The unusual measure was taken after the council made saving the city's tree canopy a top goal this year.

The 67,772-square-foot building is large enough to house 300 employees, but the project's underground garage and small surface lot provide only 153 parking spaces -- 41 less than normally required. Smith defended the parking ratio, saying the project and a similar one nearby, would be contributing $5 million in fees towards creating a new parking structure downtown.

"It is going to reduce the number of spaces at the CVS garage," council member Jac Siegel said of the nearby parking structure at Brant and California streets. "We don't have any more land to build any more parking structures."

Council member Margaret Abe Koga disagreed, saying the city owned several lots downtown where a parking structure could be built, at a cost of around $15 million. Mayor John Ins said the downtown committee was going to start looking at how to meet the increasing parking demand downtown, demand which soon could justify a new parking structure, according to a recent study. Council member Mike Kasperzak has been pushing for the city to begin charging for parking downtown to reduce demand, and suggested that the employees of the new building pay for parking if they decide to drive.

The design has a LEED Silver rating for environmental friendly features, including bike lockers and racks, and electric car charging stations.

Comments

Posted by Honor Spitz, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I am hoping that the increase in the development of large projects in the downtown area that are NOT meeting ( the realistic and required) parking requirements will not end up hurting existing businesses. Parking is a hot button item in any commercial area, and most motorists are not willing to go too far afield for a place to park...they'll keep on driving over to a shopping mall where their shopping needs (restaurants included) can be met and where they do not have to pay for parking or walk too far to find a space to park. I hope that the City will take that into consideration when approving more downtown developments.


Posted by Liz , a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Here we go again another large building in downtown. The city has lost it's small charm. They keep building these mega buildings but they never look at the traffic issue or parking. This city has lost touch. Crime is up and we need more schools. Come one lets get with the ball and next time we vote lets vote some of these idiots out.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm

This is rich, classic Siegel doubletalk:

"It's maybe a little too much building for the area, but it really does need to be redeveloped," said council member Jac Siegel, adding that neighbors would no longer have the noise of an auto shop in their neighborhood.

No, Bright Lights: they'll have CARMAGEDDON instead.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

We have very well trained leaders.
Sit. Stay. Roll over. Play dead. Good doggy! -Say the developers.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Not perfect, but office space means more walk over, versus drive over, lunchtime business for downtown restaurants. Hey, it could have been another high rise, multi-family, residential building.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm


You have to understand that the Mountain View City Council is misnamed. The correct name should be Mountain View Developers Council.


Posted by Here you go, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Keep a oak tree? We will do a study about the traffic AFTER the project is done? Let's pass it to see what is in it? So why do they get to build if they have 41 less parking spaces than is "normally" required? Care to list the reason? It is already a pain in the butt to park downtown? Oh never mind I just read another article where the City Council got money to the tune of a million bucks for the parking, but one says we can spend 15 million for a parking lot else where. Makes me sick to walk around town anymore. Oh and now let's charge money to park when we go downtown to spend money!


Posted by BvP, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Downtown MV is almost unbearable for me now. It's headed towards a downtown Palo Alto feel, and maybe that is what the city council think is attractive.

I prefer downtown Los Altos instead. Not much going on at night, so if that is something you like, it probably isn't be for you. But I can handle the creme de la creme better than the wannabe hipsters.


Posted by nikonbob, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm

It's amazing the lack of vision the city council has. The developers are laughing all the way to the bank, knowing that just about anything they propose will be rubber stamped, with only minor adjustments to make it look like they're concerned with nuisances like parking requirements or traffic flows.

150 less parking spaces than employees, 41 less spaces than regulation, we'll do a study on the impact AFTER it's built, the developer will contribute to ANOTHER parking garage downtown (oh boy) and Bryant is thrilled about an oak tree. That tells you pretty much all you need to know about the council.

There's nothing wrong with smart development, we're just not seeing a lot of that lately.


Posted by Dana, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Has the council lost its mind. There is a parking problem now. We need another parking structure if you are going to continue adding more apartments, condos and office buildings,(which I think changes the whole atmosphere of downtown for the worse) If you charge for parking, the downtown businesses will be the only ones to lose. We don't want another Palo Alto. I stopped going there 10 yrs ago.


Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm

" Developer Boyd Smith said it was challenging to design the building and the garage around the large oak tree, which has roots and a canopy that protrude 30 feet into the site. The unusual measure was taken after the council made saving the city's tree canopy a top goal this year. "

How about MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF CREATING THE LEGAL NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES?

You know, that is a requirement that everyone else has to meet, so why not YOU?

There are now distinct neighborhoods in Denver that look like the Mountain View that I grew up in.

Little mom & pop businesses that have been open for DECADES. Everybody plays by the rules, so no parking meters or parking structures in those havens of peace and quiet...

You know, when you open a business YOU PROVIDE ENOUGH OFF STREET PARKING FOR ALL YOUR CUSTOMERS!

It looks like this time would be a good time to force a recall vote on your city council critters.

Maybe that would scare enough of the developers to close their wallets along with forcing them to obey the same laws everyone has to put up with...


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jul 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Haven't ever found parking in downtown difficult, yes you sometimes can't park where you want to. I am sure that most of the building will be empty on the weekends and evenings.

With all the stop signs, the short blocks which I might add are narrow makes speeding difficult.

I really find downtown MV to be great, bookstores, coffee houses, different kinds of retail stores and beer. Yes Los Altos and Palo Alto have better retail but are high end and Apple store.. I prefer to spend my money in Mr. View.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Typical whiners regargding growth. The council is pro property rights, allowing people to develop their property to the fullest potential. There is a lot of under-utilized land in Mtn View. If you want no growth move to Belmont, Los Altos, etc. They have no vibrant downtown areas because they still thinks its 1950.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Wait until the market crashes this Autumn. This economy is headed into a brick wall.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

The superior p insider call legitimate concerns "whining".
I can't do anything I want with my property, where are my property rights?
Oh that's right, I can't walk down during business hours to get a variance, or a rezoning or whatever I want. I'm not an insider.


Posted by BvP, a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2013 at 11:09 am

"...allowing people to develop their property to the fullest potential."

As long as the potential meets zoning requirements. Even the most minor variance is difficult to acquire...unless you are a developer, or insider it seems.


Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

More work places and homes within walking distance of downtown and Caltrain is good for Mountain View. It's the big-box sprawl only reachable by car that we have to watch out for.


Posted by Jamie, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Let me guess. Political Insider works for the developers? Or maybe a City Council member? Martin I bet you drive to the big-box sprawl to get the cheap parts you need. Ok for a bunch of crap town houses to be built in Mountain View but not a cheap Home Depot? Not too many places in Mountain View that you could not walk to Caltrain.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Hey! I'd like to develop my property to it's fullest potential, too. I'm sure my neighbors wouldn't mind if I added a couple of stories onto my dwelling and had the property re-zoned for multi-family use. And, even if my neighbors DO mind...does it really make a difference? As long as I can can convince the city council that re-zoming my property and allowing me to develop it to it's fullest potential will somehow benefit the city. It's a win for me and a win for the city...that's all that matters, right?


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm

...and finance a "traffic study" showing that adding how many(WHATEVER NUMBER) apartments/offices etc will have no impact and everyone will be taking transit.

Heck, we can't even take down a tree that's clogging our drains. or get a little traffic mitigation for the neighborhood.

Why is it, if your a developer its all good and you can build and do anything you want to?


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm

AC is a registered user.

@MVResident67

Well said.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 6, 2013 at 7:25 am

Random thought: Why not make it a requirement for office space development to provide public access to parking garages after say 6pm and on weekends?


Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

Or how 'bout requiring they just provide an adequate amount of employee parking? Oh, wait. There already is an ordinance requiring that. But for the right amount of cash, the city is quite happy to suspend its own laws.
Mtn View Voice: Before you delete my post as offensive, re-read the article.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

"The superior p insider call legitimate concerns "whining".

Your property rights stop with your own property. You have the right to develop it to the fullest potential given the zoning and other regulations. Why not let other property owners have the same consideration. Why impose new regulations on them that you wont impose on yourself.

Traffic and parking issues are always studied on every major development.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 7, 2013 at 12:35 am

"...right to develop it to the fullest potential given the zoning"

Thank you for making the point.
The speculator/developers are buying the properties and then walking down to city hall "like a walk in the park" to get the properties rezoned for maximum profit.

The speculator/developers also finance "traffic studies" and guess what? No problems!


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Its clear John and others have no idea what it takes to develop property. Its hardly like a walk in the park when staff and council hold up projects for several years because they are afraid of the anti-growth mob.

Similarly it is staff, not the developers that hire traffic experts and charge the developers. The reason most traffic studies come out benign is because we have plenty of free parking and traffic issues arise in this town for perhaps one hour in the morning commute and one hour in the evening on select roads. Most roads in Mtn View are underutilized.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Most businesses will not take on building their own space or some kind of building. I would think this soon to be built building will have a tenant.

As for developers, look around you will find most buildings built by developers.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Oh yea no idea how haaarrrrd it is to develop apartments/offices in mountain view. Hardly anything going on because of the "anti-growth mob".
the 'walk in the park" quote is from a prometheus exec commenting on how easy it is to get whatever they want in Mountain View.


Posted by DC, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Parking in the California st area Fri at 7 PM you will need to circle 15 min in hopes someone leaves. The companies close there lots with treat to tow and public lots are full. Someone sold the New Safeway design of a roof top parking to meet parking numbers but no one at the sandwich shop can use it.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 5:57 am

Compare other cities you might find Mountain View to be a walk in the park or a minefield. Maybe this is why certain kinds of businesses don't want to be in CA anymore.

7 PM on a Friday night in a shopping center that is new with big Safeway store. That is asking for waiting for parking.

My girlfriend worked for Safeway, Friday Night was 5 dollar chicken from the Deli.


Posted by Bottom line is always money, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm

The city couldn't care less about the people that live here. They just want to make enough money to keep their pensions nice and bloated.

Gov Brown gave the order to allow construction in any and all cities.

The studies the city does are bios, since the city hires the staff to do it.




Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

This is another decision with which I was sorely disappointed. I found it amazing that they found this 3 story monstrosity fits in with the surrounding neighborhood. I live 1 block from where this is being built, and during the meeting about this, I pointed out that the vast majority of the surrounding buildings are single family homes, town homes and small local businesses. As far as the comment about the auto shop being noisy, in the 5 years that I have lived here and walked past it every single day on my way to and from the Caltrain Station, I have never heard ANY noise coming out of it. I will miss seeing the cars they were working on displayed in the window and I am sure that I will miss the peace and quiet I had once the new construction starts as well as the ability to park in front of my own house!


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 9, 2013 at 6:46 pm

"It's maybe a little too much building for the area, but it really does need to be redeveloped," said council member Jac Siegel, adding that neighbors would no longer have the noise of an auto shop in their neighborhood.

Talk about double speak. Jim your area needs redeveloped, probably because the developer says so.

Too funny - no more noise from an auto shop that doesn't make any noise!

So why not develop it with a building that would fit the area?


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm

"It's maybe a little too much building for the area, but it really does need to be redeveloped," said council member Jac Siegel, adding that neighbors would no longer have the noise of an auto shop in their neighborhood.

I said earlier that if Jac Siegel one. more. time. says why something is a bad idea, and then votes in favor of it, that I was going to scream.

AAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!


Posted by ZeroDictatorships, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 9, 2013 at 11:57 pm

All of you commenters show up this Monday evening (July 15, 2013) at 6:30 PM at Rose Market on the south side of Castro Street, just beyond El Camino Real. Daniel DeBolt of the Mountain View Voice will cover this event in which we get to express ourselves and hopefully achieve the critical mass necessary to get the attention we deserve to squash the mad run on such quick decisions on huge projects that ruin our neigborhoods forever! Come out and be heard!


Posted by psr, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 10, 2013 at 9:08 am

Much like Mr. Neil, I will miss Dunn's. I remember my dad driving his 65 Imperial there from our home in Fremont to have it repaired when I was a kid. A good deal and excellent workmanship.

The drive to cover every inch of open space in the city with concrete seems to end at doing a service to the community. There is an ongoing battle in LASD (which educates hundreds of Mountain View children, including mine) that could be solved with addition of another school location. Yet when the MVCC is approached about helping locate property in the NEC area for a school to educate the dozens of children that will be added to the population with all the new building they have approved near San Antonio and El Camino, they blithely lay the burden entirely on the city of Los Altos to solve.

I am disgusted with the attitude that more is always better. That is not always the case and this situation is more proof of that. As for myself, I will avoid the nightmare that is downtown Mountain View and shop and dine in Los Altos whenever possible.

As for the tree, I won't be the least bit surprised if it is "accidentally damaged and needs to be removed", much like one of the trees that has been killed by the construction at the corner of El Camino and Monroe.


Posted by PoliticalInsider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hey its not me!

I see Liz here, Dynamite, yes lets vote council out, I agree. 4000 to 8000 petitions need signing of Mt View registered voters.

I agree with what most are saying. Our Downtown has lost its charm. I think it high time we start to see what the ownership trail is for these properties. I would not be a bit surprised self dealing a misdemeanor for Council members is going on. Diane Feinstein has such a fine deal with her husband using influence to purchase properties in and around Fresno knowing the high speed rail is coming to town.

One John McCalister comes to mind. Almost everything he touches has some effect on his 31 flavors business either directly or indirectly. He has to recuse himself on 99% of the self dealings going on yet never does.

The other Political Insider is another council member. I suspect Garrett as well or with personal ties to the developers.

Our down town is rich, but fails in so many regards. It slowly is getting worse.

Yes Old Ben, the downturn is coming. Zynga is primed and Apple is touched by Samsung and Amazon. Its merely a matter of time.


Posted by PoliticalInsider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

This AAA approved auto dealer. Walked past it one day 6 months ago and told my friend its got a sign on it those poor workers. That whole area is rife with self dealing. Are we all ready to stand up to City Council and send them their marching papers? It will get worse, the self dealing hypocrites are already machinating what next scheme enriches their pockets. Make no mistake, our council most of them have monetary ties towards all the development. I see it all the time, people who dress extravagantly on a poppers wage, it is embezzlement and self dealing. Have we had enough or are we silent?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I don't have any ties with any developers, wish I did, would have come up with more interesting projects. We also need to create space for businesses which are either retail or offices. I understand that retail is taking hits by the amount of online stores, see Amazon. The old garage if I owned would have been turned into a market hall, a movie/dinner theater, or some kind of fun project.

But I don't own the building or have any say in the dealing with the project. I also know Downtown Mountain View doesn't have a strong retail vibe which over the last few years it has gotten better. We do have to many places to eat but that draws people to visit.

If El Camino starts filling up with people, young people with money living in nice new apartments, doesn't it make sense that they will need retail outlets, businesses to serve them. Real Estate has trends, right now trends here are either offices or stacked housing. We can't go out and make space for single family homes.

Los Altos is having issues with their growth, don't know how a 3 story building can be describe as a high rise.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Car repair shop is all boarded up and its a done deal.

The oak tree won't survive.

Next is Rose market.

Trouble is that all the developer council got reelected last election, so look for more of the same.


Posted by Jobu, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm

This city sucks to deal with. Google and developers have the council in their pockets. We're doomed. They'll do what they want, when they want.


Posted by ABAG this, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

We are not doomed. We can make our displeasure with this city council heard, via a recall election. We have this avenue available to us. the time is NOW.

Please write letters to the city council, write letters to the editor of this paper as well as the San Jose Mercury News. If you have contacts at any of the local news stations, make them aware of what is happening in Mountain View.

Mountain View belongs to it's residents, not developers. Let's take back the city!


Posted by Dana, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Rose Market, Milk Pail, La Costena all probably on the chopping block, all because we need to revitalize these areas. Where are they supposed to relocate? These places are just as important to the owners and customers who have been devoted to their businesses for years. I know who I am voting for in the next election!


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