Microsoft reveals plans to expand MV campus

128,000-square foot expansion planned

Microsoft on Thursday unveiled plans to acquire and build a green-roofed office complex in the heart of North Bayshore, making it the latest tech giant seeking a showpiece campus in Mountain View.

Microsoft carved out a home in North Bayshore nearly 15 years ago, long before Google, LinkedIn or many of the other vaunted tech firms moved into town.

As part of its plans, Microsoft intends to purchase its Pear Avenue facility and redevelop it into a state-of-the-art workplace. In a news release, the company touted a series of outdoor courtyards, fitness amenities and outdoor access that would be built into the new design.

Fully rebuilding the office campus is expected to take three years, Microsoft Vice President Qi Lu said in an email to employees.

"I'm excited to announce our plans to further invest in the success of the Silicon Valley region," Lu wrote. "Today's announcement marks the very beginning of a longer term process."

For their part, Mountain View city officials have already given Microsoft their blessing to expand its presence in town. Last year, the city allotted the company 128,000 square feet of office-space expansion in North Bayshore, and the new building plans are being tailored to fit within that scope.

Nevertheless, Microsoft's proposal will still face design hurdles similar to other ambitious projects being pitched in the crowded tech epicenter. The company will need to prove its growth won't exceed city thresholds for solo drivers or trip caps on local streets. Like other developments, the company will be required to join the local shuttle program and take other measures to reduce traffic congestion in the area.

However, Microsoft won't have to suddenly get into the housing game -- something Google and other tech developers are now being encouraged to do by city officials. Microsoft's site lies outside the area slotted for future residential growth in the North Bayshore area.

Describing the center as a strategic hub for research and development, Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus has helped spearhead projects including Xbox,, Skype and Yammer, according to company officials. While Microsoft is based out of Redmond, Wash., the company employs more than 2,000 workers in the Bay Area at offices in San Francisco, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

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10 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

What happened to the plans to correct the jobs/housing imbalance? With new offices being developed at Warp Speed here in Mountain View, it appears that the goal is to push out as many low and middle income people as possible, while at the same time, replacing them with highly paid tech workers.

While this approach may be great for the City's revenues, it will definitely have negative impacts on diversity and the quality of life in our neighborhoods. We are already seeing the impacts from the T.M.A shuttles that instead of sticking to their routes, are taking shortcuts and speeding through the neighborhoods on residential streets; creating noise and a dangerous environment for the small children that live and play there. The T.M.A has merely shifted the North Bayshore's problems to the neighborhoods!

When will we get the Balanced Mountain View that we were promised? At this rate, it doesn't look good.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

6 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2016 at 11:16 am

I think part of the Microsoft campus should be devoted to housing, little bit here and little bit there. Add some retail here and there, non company housing so that way stores and services will be open to the public.

7 people like this
Posted by steve bauer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:11 pm

I have been watching MICROSOFT stock for a long time.

Lately it has risen a buck or so.

I am hoping growth continues.

10 people like this
Posted by bjd
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2016 at 4:02 pm

I appreciate Mr. Neal's sentiment that it would be nice to see more efforts on housing, but this development was put together by Microsoft and their developers, not City Council. Council is not in the business of building properties and should not blacklist this project just because it isn't an apartment complex, especially since it is mostly replacing an existing and somewhat outdated office park (or really, office parking lot) with something much more attractive.

What I WILL say is that transit is just as important of an issue as housing (in my opinion more so), and this lot is in a prime location for transit solutions. A proposal is already in the works for a badly needed highway off-ramp at La Avenida, bordering this property and bypassing Shoreline, and I believe that was already known to the Microsoft developers. However I would also hope that the VTA can find a way to connect North Bayshore and the downtown transit center, giving access to Caltrain passengers and the growing downtown population, and (if it happens), El Camino Real BRT riders. This lot is a strong candidate for a BRT or light rail route, so I hope a thorough conversation on transit is had before this project gets the green light.

10 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2016 at 6:57 pm

It is interesting that Microsoft may BUY this property (assume at current market rate). This would reset the property tax value at the current market. Good for the Bond taxpayers of former Whisman School District - it will help pay off their remaining GO facilities bonds with less escalation in their tax rate. It will not have any effect on the General Fund revenues of the Mountain View Whisman district however (it will help Bond payoff). The extra tax money - in the Shoreline quasi-redevelopment district - will still go to that district/city control. The revenue diverted from MVWSD into Shoreline will probably climb well past $8M. And the "$ sharing" with MVWSD? Well, that's just a contract, temporary - set to expire in <8 years.

Sunset on Shoreline? No Parcel Tax at all would then be needed, In My Opinion.

Steven Nelson is a Trustee of the MVWSD,
"Share Shoreline" 2012 Bd. candidate Jim Pollart Web Link

facebook page Web Link
2011 MV Voice Web Link
2011 #2 Web Link
2011 Lenny Siegel Web Link
2008 council race "hardball" questions Voice 2008_10_10

22 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm

There is no such thing as "jobs/housing imbalance".

That is a made up political term used by politicians/activists for a political agenda.

Many have said that prior councils have been bought by developers, but look at council members Jack Siegel and Showater, 20,000 new units and counting in the planning stages and that is still not enough. Who do you think will be building those units?

9 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Who will be building the residential units? Uh - construction workers? That's my guess!

7 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2016 at 6:49 pm

@Steven Nelson,

Thanks for clarifying that for me.

So construction workers bought off this city council-GOOD THING.

Developers bought off previous council who built office buildings which in turn has high paying tech jobs to workers-BAD THING.

Got it!

13 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 27, 2016 at 11:42 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

No one is saying that having high paying jobs for tech workers is a bad thing. What people are saying is that packing a million more jobs into and environmentally sensitive area, in a city that is only 12 square miles, with no room to grow, may not be the best thing.

Others may counter that we can always build up (10-20 story buildings. But why should we have to? There are many cities that have a lot of abandoned or under-utilized office space, so why should residents of Mountain View have to have their quality of life radically changed? There are plenty of city that have skyscrapers where people can go live if that is what is important to them. Many people live in Mountain View because we wanted to live in a town that has a balanced quality of life for our families and friends.

What we are getting is a forced "San Francisco style living for Everyone" approach to Bay Area development.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

9 people like this
Posted by MV resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 27, 2016 at 8:24 pm

@Gladys - I agree that the term "jobs/housing imbalance" was part of a clever sales package that swayed a lot of voters in the last election. The Voice pushed the concept pretty hard too. The beneficiaries are the developers.

Correction, though - Don't confuse Lenny Siegel with Jac Siegel. Jac was a member of the previous council, and pretty much had his head on straight regarding quality of life in MV. Lenny Siegel is a new council member who came in at the last election. Lenny is for all-out housing development, but was not heavily funded by developers, presumably because he had in the past advocated rent control. Nevertheless, his agenda - the grievously mistaken idea that all-out housing construction will bring rents down - coincides perfectly with what developers want in MV.

The new council members who received very heavy hidden funding from developer/landlords are Ken Rosenberg and Pat Showalter. If you want details on the routing of $90,000 of dark money, just google their names plus the term "Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition," the cynically-named shell through which the money was sent.

You can't say that they were "bought," it's not that simple. The developers just wanted some friendly people on the council, and wanted to help out, you know. Apparently they thought that much overt funding would look bad, when the candidates had agreed to a voluntary spending limit of a little over $20,000 each, hence the covert (but legal) routing of the money. What you can exactly say, though, is that the election was corrupted, and that the council is opening the doors wide to developers.

7 people like this
Posted by K.B.
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 28, 2016 at 9:31 am

@ Jim Neal: Well said, thank you!

Additionally IMHO, road diets + expanding population = gridlock insanity.

15 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 28, 2016 at 3:41 pm


We basically agree on this issue. If you listen to people, and there are many, who have said that previous councils have been bought by developers, my criticism of them is that there are no differences between commercial and residential developers with the scale that is happening in our city. If you criticize one and not the other, your are being hypocritical.

@MV resident,
Thank you for this clarification. I apologize to Jac Siegel, he is a very good man and I wish he was on the council in place of Lenny Siegel.
My flu has been dragging on much to long.

I believe that the MTN.VIEW VOICE has the biggest issue with outside groups, like P.G & E, Unions, DMV contractors, National Association of Real Estate, etc, who contribute money to candidates. Outside groups could sway an election where as the Voice would like to have the biggest influence in this matter. People supporting their candidates by contributions, have always been with us. How is it any different when you have a candidate who is running for public office who says he will give you all kinds of free-taxpayer supplied freebies? Like rent control, free college, free health care, did you know that the state of California is paying the auto insurance to the undocumented people who got drivers licenses here. All they pay is the first $300 and the state pays the rest. Who do you think they will be supporting come election time?

The issue should be,
1-all adds must be totally truthful and accurate.
2-candidates who run on an issue just to get elected, then flip positions, should be recalled.
3-who payed for any add should be irrelevant as long as it is accurate, if it is not then there needs to be a heavy financial penalty to who ever put that out.

13 people like this
Posted by Seattleite
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2016 at 7:43 pm

From Seattle, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Jim Neal, Gladys, and the other commenters.

Your jobs/housing imbalance (and lack of willingness to densify the core neighborhoods served well by transit) has singlehandedly created thousands of new jobs in Seattle from Google and Facebook alone -- moving entire project teams out of the Bay Area -- as employees and prospective employees increasingly say "no thank you" to $2 million dollar starter homes and 2 hour commutes.

Had the Mountain View/Sunnyvale/Palo Alto been building ample, dense, affordable housing for young people and great alternatives to needing a private car -- there's no way we'd have these prime employers hiring at such a large scale.

On my block alone, we're building hundreds of new apartments -- all without a single parking space -- for the hordes of young people who want to walk, bike and take transit.

So please keep things unaffordable down here. We're really loving it.

11 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2016 at 11:04 am

@ Seattleite,

Let me help point out some facts to you.
It is Council members Siegel and Showater that wants to stop all commercial development, just look at the temper tantrum that Siegel displayed just a few weeks ago when the majority of the council approved the downtown hotel, which Siegel and Showater opposed. Company's like Google and Facebook have been expanding offices all around the world for years, this is nothing new.

You can not start any factual discussion that starts with a lie, "jobs/housing imbalance" Please provide a link that has done a study of this effect and terminology.

Lastly, Please provide a city that is similar to Mountain View, example: has been built out, in where they build unlimited low income housing that dropped the prices so as to make them affordable for say 80% of the population. I will point to San Francisco as an example that proves what you say is not true. S.F has been building huge skyscrapers and uber new housing units and they are still 50% more expensive that Mtn.View and they have not dropped in prices at all.

10 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm

I am a 7-year Mountain View resident and worker. I campaigned for Lenny Siegel, Ken Rosenberg, Greg Unangst, and Pat Showalter in the 2014 city council election, because I agreed with their values and their ideas for making Mountain View more pleasant, prosperous, inclusive, equitable, and environmental.

To me, that includes increasing the amount and diversity of housing options in Mountain View, especially more affordable and less car-centric housing options, and especially housing near jobs.

I am offended by the notion that the only support for these councilmembers, or these development proposals, comes from the profit motive of developers. I am not a developer, construction worker, or shill. I am a civically engaged member of the community. I am your neighbor, even if you disagree with me, and I deserve your respect, just as you deserve mine.

5 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm

To those who think that "jobs/housing" imbalance is "a made up political term", I am happy to provide some information.

The "jobs to employed residents" or "J/ER" ratio is a very real thing that city planners look at. For example, here's a quote from a memo by Mayor Chuck Reed in 2013:

"San Jose's J/ER has declined from 0.88 in 2010 to 0.85 in 2012 and staff also makes the case that San Jose is adding residents at a much faster pace than jobs. In the same timeframe, Palo Alto has increased its J/ER ratio from 2.77 to
3.10 and Mountain View has increased its J/ER from 1.55 to 1.64."

Here are projections from Mountain View's 2012 General Plan:

Jobs in 2009: 60,460
Jobs in 2030: 82,230
Housing units in 2009: 33,270
Housing units in 2030: 42,240

That's an increase of 22,000 workers and 9,000 housing units. Where are the rest of those 22,000 workers supposed to live?

7 people like this
Posted by Let Them Eat Cake
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Like, why should we build houses? If we don't build houses, my house value beats the S&P500 by 150%! Web Link

If people can't afford to live here, they should live in Tracy. It doesn't matter to me that they'll spend three hours a day driving and that their kids will never see them. I'll be dead before their CO2 emissions cause a 4C temperature increase that leads the world into starvation, war, and deadly flooding! Why should I trouble my beautiful mind with that? Jesus would back me up, it's far better to have non-endangered burrowing owls as neighbors than POOR people.

Like, people who want to make money by building desperately needed things should go back to Russia, because in America, CAPITALISM, amirite? Right! To the country club!

7 people like this
Posted by resides
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jan 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm

To Seattleite,
So you like those micro apartments, because young people want to walk or bike to work. Well maybe for a year or two and then you may want to go hiking, camping or skiing in the mountains, now you need a car . And you park that car around the block in front of the single family homes that have been there for a long time. So you became a of those neighbors nobody likes to have. If you really only want to work and sleep, maybe it's time for some of the new companies to buy land away from current cities and create a new form of company cities. But in a few years you like to have a family and a nice home with a yard. And that time might come sooner than you think. We all grow up.

13 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm

@Jeremy Hoffman,

People are and have used the term "jobs/housing imbalance" as the problem to the high cost of housing in our area. What you have pointed out is a statistic, like how many White, African, Latinos live in a city, that is a statistic. Please site me a study that shows where and when damage occurs to a city when certain numbers are out of balance. I can site many cities like Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno-which has no commercial zoning, they have 99% housing and very few jobs yet have some of the most expensive housing in the area. In your theory these areas should be cheap to live in.

Your thinking that all new jobs has to have new housing built in the same city is wrong. I know most of the young people who work at Google prefer to live in San Francisco, the next group of Google people with kids prefer to live in Palo Alto or Cupertino, why? because they want their kids going to good schools.

I have lived in Mountain View since 1969. When I started out I lived with a roommate in a 1 bedroom apartment for many years. I made sacrifices and saved money to be able to buy my first place. If I could not afford it I would have moved to a different area.

From around 1999 on, there was so much new housing being built in our city, people cried out enough already. They where tearing down commercial property to put up housing. Residential housing cost the city money, commercial properties do not. Remember the big fight over the old HP site on Alma, the neighbors did not want housing their. It dragged on for 13 years and in the end, the economy changed and it was kept as a commercial property.

The single biggest problem that no one is talking about is the high cost of the raw land by itself. You can never have affordable hosing here as you would like it to be. Why? because our area is built out and there is no more room to grow.

My test for any council member or candidate is simple,
Every city resident starts out at 100 points, if anyone says I am going to take away points from you to give to someone else, you have failed and do not pass.

That is not inclusive that is divisive, Siegel and Showater have failed my test.

3 people like this
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 30, 2016 at 10:24 pm

@resides -
"Well maybe for a year or two and then you may want to go hiking, camping or skiing in the mountains, now you need a car ."
Ever hear of Zipcar? Or renting a car?

"But in a few years you like to have a family and a nice home with a yard. And that time might come sooner than you think. We all grow up. "
Nice condescending attitude! It guess your lifestyle is obviously the only way there is to live, so we shouldn't ever provide options for people to live any other way.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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