Broadreach tapped to develop Moffett Gateway

Office, hotel project wins competition for city-owned site

The City Council moved forward with plans for a large hotel and office development on city property Tuesday evening.

Council members voted 4-3 at the June 24 meeting to select Broadreach Capital as the favored developer for the 6.7-acre site at 750 Moffett Boulevard near Highway 101. Proposing a 182-room hotel and 146,000-square-foot office building, both four stories tall, the San Francisco-based company was chosen over three other finalists. Two other firms had proposed to build hotel-only projects on the site, including Marriott hotel "builder of the year" R.D. Olson. A total of 12 proposals were originally received.

A council majority said they wanted to "diversify" revenue sources for the city by adding office space into the mix, which is enough to accommodate 700 to 1,000 employees. The developer said there was an effort underway to buy another 3 acres next door, a former freeway interchange owned by Caltrans, so the project could add even more office and hotel space. "I think we can do both," the developer said.

"We don't need 700 office jobs pouring onto the freeway at that location with no place for the workers to live," said Lenny Siegel of the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View. The group voted the night before to oppose office use on the site, he said.

"I hear we can't tell private owners what to do, but that doesn't apply in this case. The fact is, we can't build office after office in Mountain View and not suffer the consequences."

Residents noted hotel use would help relieve pressure on the city's housing market, as Google has been leasing apartments to use as extended-stay hotels for their visiting employees.

Council members admitted that hotels may bring more revenue through higher transient occupancy taxes for the city, but expressed concern that it wouldn't be stable revenue.

"Even if the economy crashed, we have a stable income source," said council member Ronit Bryant, who said she wanted lease revenues to ensure the city remains "very rich in services to our residents."

She said her "fantasy" was big box retail on the site, but an analysis found office and hotel use would provide the best revenue for the city. Housing was not pursued partly because of the presence of toxic TCE contamination on the site, though either way, the relatively small amount that's there must be cleaned up, noted council candidate Jim Neal.

Council members John Inks, John McAllister and Jac Siegel voted against it. McAllister and Siegel said they favored the hotel-only proposals.

Resident Bob Weaver, representing the Slater Neighborhood Association, said the property will be "the face we present to the world as they drive down (highway) 101. To put up a common office building as a way to represent Mountain View is a tragic misuse of this property. Make it 100 percent hotel."

He noted that Broadreach has proposed less conference and event space than other bidders, about 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, a longtime desire in the community. The two hotel-only finalists proposed 10,000 square feet of event space. "Here we are a world-class city all dressed up and no place to go," Weaver said. "People in the neighborhood don't feel office space fits."

The developer had big promises for the site, including an environmentally friendly LEED silver building, bike sharing, shuttles, "attractive" open spaces, substantial revenue for the city, a pedestrian bridge over Stevens Creek to connect the creek's trail to the site and "first-class architecture" and "first class office space." "We hope we can beat your deadline by several quarters," a representative said.

City staff touted the Broadreach's considerable financial resources as a reason for choosing the firm. The company boasts $24 billion in assets.

The council will consider designs for the site at a later date, along with the issue of whether to require a labor peace agreement for the hotel in the project, which will ensure that unions can organize workers at the hotel without interference. Such an agreement would also mean less projected lease revenue, city staff members said.

"Workers are scared of losing their jobs if they fight for their rights," said Vanessa Anchondo, member of Local 19 of Unite HERE, whose members spoke about the need for decent wages in the area. "I hope this project can move forward with labor peace in place so the project can move forward without labor unrest and give workers like me a voice."


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Posted by NP
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I hope the City Council really pushes to have fantastic architecture and smart urban design. This is a key location. Some ideas:

-This is an opportunity to enhance and expand the natural open space along the banks of Stevens Creek, and integrate that open space with the new development. A multi-story parking garage on the banks of the creek (as shown in the current site plan) seems like a wasted opportunity for such a unique piece of land.

-A bridge to the trail would be a major asset to hotel guests and office workers. It would allow them to travel to Downtown or the Shoreline area by foot or bike.

-Maybe someday Moffett Boulevard will live up to its name, and be a great street to walk along that connects Downtown with Moffett Field. A good site plan would prepare for that future, and design these buildings to present a welcoming face to the street, with direct pedestrian connections.

-The architecture is going to be very visible from the freeway. Moffett Blvd. is the freeway exit that leads directly to MV's main street. Don't let the developers pass off some cookie-cutter corporate design. Don't budge on architectural standards and build something that marks the location as a gateway to Mountain View.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Office buildings are needed, we have retail space being converted to offices, solution to this build more offices. Hotel will take pressure off rental units.

Build some new hotels, replace older motels on El Camino Real for housing.

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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

With all their billions of dollars in assets, this developer should use this opportunity to show off with some really well built, expensive looking architecture, not just the regular flip up, stacked-boxes-with-over-sized-lids look that is going up everywhere nowadays. Should they come up with a substantially beautiful style, it would mean lots more business for them from here on out. I visualize actual, substantial looking moldings around doors and windows, and none of that dry stacked stone home-for-spiders stuff. That fad is tired.

We really do need large and small meeting areas that the public can rent. This location could incorporate beautifully ornate meeting rooms/ballrooms that even bridal receptions could utilize, providing the hotel with entire wedding party guests, plus their guests who come from out of the area.

This is our chance to look so great we really shine. And let's really add value with classy stuff and meeting rooms that can hold so many people, they make MV the best place to come for this. It is really needed considering the giants we have attracted to this, now the center of silicon valley. They should have at least one meeting room so large and nice it rivals even one of the sections of the convention center Las Vegas.

And why must the parking structure have the best view and most relief from the freeway noise? I think that needs to be switched around...

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Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

@Linda Curtis:

"And why must the parking structure have the best view and most relief from the freeway noise? I think that needs to be switched around..."

It likely has something to do with PG&E substation and the high-tension power lines that run along Stevens Creek. It is arguably safer to put a parking garage closer to the high-tension power lines versus a hotel or office building.

Road noise shouldn't be an issue. The windows would be double-paned, just like any modern building next to a freeway or railroad line on this planet including the spendy Four Seasons Silicon Valley up US-101 in East Palo Alto.

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Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Besides that, if you were just driving past the Gateway site, would you rather look at a sleek handsome hotel/office building or a parking garage?

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Posted by Labor Peace is a joke
a resident of Slater
on Jun 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm

The hotel project will never be built because the council will impose a card check requirement and workers will not be allowed to vote whether or not they want to join a union. It will be imposed through card check. The developer will then ask for a larger subsidy from the city to build the project.

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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Once again the majority of our City Council were short-sighted.

Mountain View could have had a Marriott hotel from "builder of the year" R.D. Olson.

Instead we get more offices.

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