Council members praise Intuit project

Office space would triple, make room for 1,300 more workers

In a study session Tuesday, City Council members praised the first major North Bayshore office development proposal under the city's new 2030 general plan.

In a project intended to "make Mountain View a better place," Intuit proposes a pair of four-story buildings at 2600 Marine Way with living roofs, solar panels and architecture that wowed some council members. The project aims to have only 45 percent of employees driving alone to a pair of parking garages, one that's three levels and the other six levels (though only slightly higher than the four-story offices because of solar panels on the top level). Half of the project's power would be generated on site and it would eventually produce zero waste, according to Intuit officials.

"This isn't boring, it's a very unique design that stands out," said council member Chris Clark of a rendering of the two buildings. "I think people will say, 'Wow,' when they see it."

The proposed buildings are nearly equal in size and total 369,000 square feet, replacing eight buildings that total 108,000 square feet and making room for 1,300 new employees to add to the 1,900 employees the tax accounting software company has now in Mountain View. An adjacent Intuit campus will remain.

"I really appreciate the fact you guys listened to what we said about what we're trying to preserve," said council member Ronit Bryant, praising the relatively low building heights, meant to preserve views of the mountains and the Bay. "Towers and parking lots isn't what we want. Environmental restoration and green roofs is very welcome."

Council member John McAlister credited Intuit's real estate manager Michael Gulasch, saying, "He really did listen. He spent months, years, going to every one of these (general plan) events, listening, making notes" and conveying the city's wishes to Intuit administrators and architects.

With a 1.0 floor area ratio, the proposal is at the maximum density allowed under the new 2030 general plan, a blueprint for land use in the city. The density is allowed only for projects that meet certain requirements for reducing car trips and have a high degree of environmental friendliness. The buildings meet the highest standard for green design, LEED platinum, which appears to have become the norm for large new office projects in the city.

Intuit would use shuttles to cut car traffic, joining a transit management agency (TMA) that is being started by Whisman area office developer TMG Partners.

"If all companies in North Bayshore that have shuttles join the TMA, they may consolidate all the shuttles that stop at our (downtown) transit station and possibly the ones that run outside the city" to San Francisco, said zoning administrator Peter Gilli.

The company touted a list of features, including an on-site bicycle mechanic in a "public bike maintenance program," car sharing, eight public electric vehicle chargers and incubator space for start-up companies. It also would include new space for free tax help for the public that had previously been housed in the city library, new trail access, and "bird-friendly" design.

Shani Kleinhaus, a wildlife advocate for the Audubon Society who has been advocating for bird habitat amidst all the redevelopment in the works near Shoreline Park, said she had been in contact with Intuit for "quite a while now."

"We wanted to see more habitat on the roofs" of the buildings, Kleinhaus complained, but added that, despite that, "We feel they have been very responsive."

Council member Mike Kasperzak called the architecture "exciting" while council member Margaret Abe-Koga said that with the use of glass walls, the design "feels very open you don't feel the massing." The ground floor "looks like an open area."

Council members Bryant and Jac Siegel had architectural concerns.

"I have concerns about very long buildings," Bryant said, suggesting something be used to break up their length. "I don't want to define North Bayshore as a long area you drive along."

Siegel agreed. "I think it is kind of stark looking myself."

To Intuit's credit, the company understood "the concept of what we are trying to do in North Bayshore, unlike other companies I've met with in North Bayshore who will go unnamed," Siegel said.

The buildings would generate 3,200 new car trips everyday, 300 of them during rush hours, said the traffic engineer hired by the developer.

"I'm concerned every project is going to go to 1.0 FAR and we're going to have a million people in North Bayshore," Siegel said.

Mayor John Inks noted that the smaller companies looking to redevelop in North Bayshroe probably won't be able to afford to build a similar project.

"If you are going to propose 1.0 in North Bayshore, the way you approached it is the way I'd hope others will approach it," Clark said.

At a future meeting the council will vote on the project and a list of yet-to-be-determined off-site community benefits it is expected to include.


Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Very nice looking buildings, also want to point out this other issue. Housing which is needed for the 1,300 new jobs.

Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Nice buildings -- not your typical unsightly office park. Hopefully some of the additional employees will choose to live in the new housing being built around San Antonio Shopping Center, along El Camino and downtown. All of those locations are within easy biking distance of Intuit's campus.

It's exciting to live in a region with a dynamic economy, especially when so much of North America and Europe is stuck in the doldrums.

Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Like this building better then the Facebook building.

Like this comment
Posted by shani Kleinahus
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society has been working with Intuit, and the company has been responsive to our requests for bird-safe windows that minimize bird collisions, and for green roofs that are planted with the type of vegetation that birds can use for food. Intuit also considered the height of the buildings and how to avoid obstacles in the flight path of birds that migrate during the night.
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is looking forward to continue the conversation with Intuit. At this time, we have no complaints, only praise.

Shani Kleinhaus
Environmental Advocate
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

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on Sep 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm

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Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Old Mountain View

on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:21 am

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