Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has gone into the hotel business, and his hotel company has set its sights on Mountain View, as have several other hotel companies.
City Council members are meeting behind closed doors Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of leasing to Virgin Hotels some city owned parking lots near the downtown train station. City officials have been seeking redevelopment proposals for the downtown parking lots for years, and up for discussion are two parking lots on either side of Hope Street, between Evelyn Avenue and Villa Street.
Depending on whether some smaller lots on Evelyn Avenue are incorporated -- including the Voice's old office at 655 West Evelyn Ave. -- the hotel could potentially be constructed directly across Evelyn Avenue from the downtown train station.
Details of the proposal have not been revealed and city officials were not immediately available for comment.
Whatever happens may be a marked contrast to the modest buildings on the sites now.
"There's no place for modesty here Virgin is recognized and respected across the globe," says the website of the corporate behemoth which has its hand in the cell phone industry, space tourism and Formula One race cars, among hundreds of other things. The hotels would target travelers in the "creative class," its website says. The company has yet to open a hotel since launching in 2010, but makes big claims that it will change the hotel industry. Plans for Virgin's Nashville hotel incorporate a state-of-the-art recording studio.
City Council members may have to consider how many hotels are viable in Mountain View. The city recently received a hotel development request from Shashi Group LLC for a site at 1625 North Shoreline Blvd., a site now home to Overtime Fitness. The council also wants a hotel on another piece of city land known as the "Moffett Gateway" site at Moffett Boulevard and Highway 101, in order to raise revenue for the city budget through a lucrative long-term land lease. Five developers have made proposals for the site.
The number of hotel proposals is yet more evidence that the city is in the midst of an unprecedented real estate development boom.
Most development proposals received for the 6.69 acre Moffett site have included office space along with a hotel, but no housing.