News

Moffett Gateway wins council approval

Hotel and office development sparks concerns over traffic, trail impacts

A hotel and office development at a crucial highway juncture received a unanimous round of approvals from the Mountain View City Council on Tuesday night, despite some concerns over the project's traffic and environmental impacts.

The site, known as the Moffett Gateway, is located at the interchange of highways 101 and 85. The 10-acre property is partly owned by the city and officials have long envisioned it as a lucrative spot for a commercial lease. In 2014, the city signed an exclusive deal with development firm Broadreach Capital, picking it over a dozen other submissions.

Over multiple iterations, Broadreach's proposal grew to include a 255-room hotel, a six-story parking garage and a separate building with 200,000 square feet of office space. Developing that property wasn't just a bonanza for Broadreach, said Craig Vought, the firm's managing director, at the Oct. 18 council meeting. He pointed out that the city is projected to reap about $4.3 million annually from hotel taxes when the project is open for business. In addition, about 2 acres of the site would be dedicated as a public park, he said.

"This site has been off-limits to the public for about 50 years; our goal tonight is to put this back in use," Vought said. "We'd like to think what we're creating is a terrific gateway to the community. We hope to see this up and running soon."

In approving the project, the City Council signed off on an extensive environmental-impact report (EIR), effectively giving its assurance that the project's benefits would outweigh its impacts. The EIR warned the hotel and offices would create significant, unavoidable traffic impacts along Highway 101 from Moffett Boulevard to Highway 237.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

Project planners were particularly eager to highlight a proposed bicycle-and-pedestrian bridge to connect Moffett Gateway to the Stevens Creek Trail. In concept, this bridge would serve as a critical link allowing hotel guests or office workers to easily access the trail and head to downtown or North Bayshore, potentially minimizing the site's traffic demands.

Building that bridge will require approval from Santa Clara Valley Water District officials, who have expressed concerns the project could impact their maintenance costs. But Mountain View city staff members were confident the utility district would eventually grant approval for the bridge.

However, the project's affinity for the Stevens Creek Trail wasn't reciprocated. Trail advocates criticized the project for putting the face of its office building against the trail, while hiding the parkland on the opposite Moffett Boulevard side. Similar concerns had been brought up in previous public meetings.

"Stevens Creek Trail users will have a five-story office building right across the creek from them, looming over them," said Ross Heitkamp, a volunteer with the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail. "One would naturally assume the (open space) should have been placed next to the riparian corridor."

Pointing out that he originally opposed adding offices to the project, Councilman Lenny Siegel said that ultimately the project had been reviewed thoroughly and deserved approval. While the project would bring some new traffic to an already congested area, Siegel said the city was working on bringing light-rail or possibly other transit options through the area.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"We need to solve our traffic problems by building transit, not simply by not building buildings," he said.

The Moffett Gateway project was unanimously approved in a 7-0 vote.

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Moffett Gateway wins council approval

Hotel and office development sparks concerns over traffic, trail impacts

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 1:54 pm

A hotel and office development at a crucial highway juncture received a unanimous round of approvals from the Mountain View City Council on Tuesday night, despite some concerns over the project's traffic and environmental impacts.

The site, known as the Moffett Gateway, is located at the interchange of highways 101 and 85. The 10-acre property is partly owned by the city and officials have long envisioned it as a lucrative spot for a commercial lease. In 2014, the city signed an exclusive deal with development firm Broadreach Capital, picking it over a dozen other submissions.

Over multiple iterations, Broadreach's proposal grew to include a 255-room hotel, a six-story parking garage and a separate building with 200,000 square feet of office space. Developing that property wasn't just a bonanza for Broadreach, said Craig Vought, the firm's managing director, at the Oct. 18 council meeting. He pointed out that the city is projected to reap about $4.3 million annually from hotel taxes when the project is open for business. In addition, about 2 acres of the site would be dedicated as a public park, he said.

"This site has been off-limits to the public for about 50 years; our goal tonight is to put this back in use," Vought said. "We'd like to think what we're creating is a terrific gateway to the community. We hope to see this up and running soon."

In approving the project, the City Council signed off on an extensive environmental-impact report (EIR), effectively giving its assurance that the project's benefits would outweigh its impacts. The EIR warned the hotel and offices would create significant, unavoidable traffic impacts along Highway 101 from Moffett Boulevard to Highway 237.

Project planners were particularly eager to highlight a proposed bicycle-and-pedestrian bridge to connect Moffett Gateway to the Stevens Creek Trail. In concept, this bridge would serve as a critical link allowing hotel guests or office workers to easily access the trail and head to downtown or North Bayshore, potentially minimizing the site's traffic demands.

Building that bridge will require approval from Santa Clara Valley Water District officials, who have expressed concerns the project could impact their maintenance costs. But Mountain View city staff members were confident the utility district would eventually grant approval for the bridge.

However, the project's affinity for the Stevens Creek Trail wasn't reciprocated. Trail advocates criticized the project for putting the face of its office building against the trail, while hiding the parkland on the opposite Moffett Boulevard side. Similar concerns had been brought up in previous public meetings.

"Stevens Creek Trail users will have a five-story office building right across the creek from them, looming over them," said Ross Heitkamp, a volunteer with the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail. "One would naturally assume the (open space) should have been placed next to the riparian corridor."

Pointing out that he originally opposed adding offices to the project, Councilman Lenny Siegel said that ultimately the project had been reviewed thoroughly and deserved approval. While the project would bring some new traffic to an already congested area, Siegel said the city was working on bringing light-rail or possibly other transit options through the area.

"We need to solve our traffic problems by building transit, not simply by not building buildings," he said.

The Moffett Gateway project was unanimously approved in a 7-0 vote.

Comments

Fed up to here
Cuesta Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm
Fed up to here, Cuesta Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

"We need to solve our traffic problems by building transit, not simply by not building buildings," he said.

Try solving the traffic problems FIRST! Then build buildings. DUH!!!! I think the city council cannot solve the traffic problem they have created. Cut our losses, why throw good money after bad?


Reader
another community
on Oct 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm
Reader, another community
on Oct 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm

The EIR failed to recognize that Moffett Boulevard and its freeway access from US-101 previously accommodated a *LOT* more vehicle traffic (the years in when it was a fully operational naval air station) than it currently does.

Peoples' memories are extremely short, and yes, some residents only moved to the area recently, they don't remember the Moffett NAS of the Eighties.

The Moffett-101 area's infrastructure was built and handled far more capacity than it currently does, including large military vehicles, vendor trucks, etc.

The proposed hotel and office complex will not draw the same amount of larger vehicles as Moffett NAS did.

If Mountain View residents want to worry about congestion, worry about downtown, worry about Shoreline. Moffett & 101 is not a significant concern.


Resident
Jackson Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm
Resident , Jackson Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm

We don't need any more office buildings, hotels or parks. Moffet Blvd. was the only uncongested street left in Mountain View and it should have stayed that way.
I have given up fighting with the City Council because they stopped listening to what their residents have to say and approve what they please. I can only do my part like we all can do and vote.


Reader
another community
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:22 pm
Reader, another community
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Actually, the local hotel room occupancy rate has skyrocketed over the past decade, ample evidence that the area does need more hotel rooms. Building hotel rooms in Gilroy doesn't help travelers who are coming to visit Mountain View (Google, LinkedIn, NASA, etc.).

If a hotel isn't built at Moffett Gateway, that doesn't remove the demand. Hotels would be considered at suitable locations elsewhere in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, etc.

As for office buildings, feel free to tell all the local companies to stop hiring? Or tell Google, Veritas, Symantec, etc. to move elsewhere.

The solution isn't a construction moratorium. San Francisco was once a tiny little settlement. So was Tokyo, so was Paris, so was Mexico City.

Because of the existing infrastructure capacity left over from the Moffett NAS days, Moffett Gateway is one of the least impactful sites for a hotel-office development, far more so than anything downtown, on El Camino Real, or on Shoreline.

One thing for sure, no one -- including the city council -- can satisfy everyone all the time.

If you don't like the current council members, vote for someone else. The council members are the elected representatives of the registered voters, they are supposed to reflect the overall will of those who vote.

If you don't like who your neighbors elect into office, find a new community that pleases you more. No one is forced to live and vote in Mountain View.


@Reader
Monta Loma
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm
@Reader, Monta Loma
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Yes, Moffett NAS probably contributed a lot more traffic in the 80's than it does now, but you can't actually believe that it was more than Google, Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn, Amazon, etc. does now, can you? I find it very difficult to believe that traffic in the 80's was anything close to what it is now, particularly considering 85 didn't even exist in the 80's, and therefore the contribution from the south wasn't a consideration. If you don't believe me, just try getting from 280 to 101 on 85 at 9am.


Resident
Jackson Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm
Resident , Jackson Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm

My family has lived here for well over 60 years. Mountain View suits me fine. I don't care for all of the new office buildings that are being approved nor do I care for employees that infiltrate our downtown and streets everyday and just expect us to put up with it. Your message says that you are from another community and not from Mountain View. So, I find it odd that you have such a strong opinion about this project.


Doug Pearson
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Oct 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Doug Pearson, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

I agree that the park should border the creek; I can't understand why the developer does not prefer that, and if I learn that this wrong-headed idea was forced on the developer by the city I will be very unhappy.

As for the pedestrian-bicycle bridge connection to Stevens Creek Trail, I have no objection; but to cite access to downtown via the Trail as a benefit does not make sense to me. The Trail access point nearest downtown is at Evelyn, about 4 blocks from downtown. It would be shorter and easier for pedestrians and cyclists to go straight down Moffett Blvd to downtown. This would require something long needed: Converting to a "complete street" per the General Plan, the short distance between Leong and the 85 on-ramp headed south. (Already done headed north.)

With regard to vehicular traffic, Reader is right that "Moffett Boulevard and its freeway access from US-101 previously accommodated a *LOT* more vehicle traffic (the years when it was a fully operational naval air station) than it currently does." However, the Council's preferred method of handling the Castro/Moffett railroad crossing is to close that crossing and route traffic via Shoreline Blvd. This will insure that Moffett Gateway traffic that might otherwise increase downtown traffic to the benefit of downtown restaurants will instead go directly to 101 (access to Shoreline and points north, access to 237 and points south) or 85 (access to El Camino Real/Sunnyvale and points south). This would make a mockery of the name Moffett Gateway.


Steven A
Rengstorff Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm
Steven A, Rengstorff Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Having just come home from work on 101, where a vehicle fire shut down both lanes for over an hour, I have to say this is not a great idea. We already have more traffic than we can bear. The city just wants more and more revenue. Rents have skyrocketed, and the freeways are parking lots. This is wrong.


live in MV for years
Stierlin Estates
on Oct 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm
live in MV for years, Stierlin Estates
on Oct 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Our City council has no idea what's going on north of the railroad tracks, it's build build and more in this area. They seem to have a blind eye for this area. A lot of commuters coming from San Jose used to exit 101 at Shoreline and have been using the Moffett Blvd exit for years. Take Moffett and turn right on Middlefield to get into town. Or take the Moffett exit to get to downtown since Shoreline is a parking lot during rush our and that last now for hours.
It's time for those new silicone valley company to expend into other areas. That's what the established companies have done. Look at Intel, big campus in Folsom and it's a nice town, close to the Sierra and Skiing and Hiking and yes great wineries in the foothills. If you haven't been to the Central Valley in the last few years, it's a great area to raise a family. By the way downtown Sacramento is booming with lots of young people. Maybe someone are to tell Google that Mountain View doesn't want to be a one company town.


David
Jackson Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm
David, Jackson Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm

The Moffett and 101 interchange was reworked about a decade ago. I am not sure the comparison with the 80's is still valid. It went from a 4 leaf clover to a 2 leaf. I am not an expert but does that mean the exit is now half capacity?


PA Resident
another community
on Oct 21, 2016 at 2:07 am
PA Resident, another community
on Oct 21, 2016 at 2:07 am

The traffic implications of this need to be sorted before the building commences.

Continuing the VTA lightrail along beside 101 to the Port of RWC would make sense as it would serve this building, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and other big employers. Getting traffic off 101 as well as the cross highway routes is crucial. Improving public transit is imperative in this area of the Bay Area.

Anyone who says that VTA doesn't go across the county border is part of the problem. Get rid of all the different agencies and make one Bay Area Transit Authority and start making some common sense alternative transportation services now, pronto. Don't look at public transit as snaking through poor areas for poor people, but make it efficient, affordable, alternative transport for commuters the way that Google buses is already doing.


Reader
another community
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:01 am
Reader, another community
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:01 am

@Resident:

I am a resident of this area but I choose to always list "Another Community" for privacy purposes (my web browser also deletes all of its cookies upon quitting). But rest assured that I have legitimate reasons to comment on such matters.

I've lived in various communities in the SF, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties for almost all of my life and these types of decisions must be looked at from the broader viewpoint.

Putting a moratorium on building isn't a credible solution unless you are living in your own dreamworld. The state's population has been continuously growing ever since it was founded; over the past few decades, that growth has been largely driven by foreign immigrants.

If Moffett Gateway isn't building, a similar development will spring up somewhere else nearby.

And say, "let's solve *ALL* transportation problems before allowing another commercial development" is also dreamworld nonsense.

Again, if you don't like the folks that your neighbors are voting into office to represent the community, go find a place whose residents elect officials who operate in a manner that you prefer, whether it be Moscow, Minneapolis, Mumbai or Mililani.


Resident
Whisman Station
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:51 pm
Resident, Whisman Station
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:51 pm

What rarely gets probed is the revenue end of this. What's the expected additional revenue to the city and what are the motivations for that revenue? As opposed to other uses (e.g. transit.)

Additionally ... I heart how "Reader" is trying to invalidate the views of long term residents by reposting a wall of text.

The old "love it or leave it" line. A+ discourse, buddy. Don't ever change.


live in mv
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:17 am
live in mv, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

How many trees will be removed? I just read in this weeks Voice about the hundreds of tree that will be removed in north Bayshore along Shoreline and side streets. I remember when the trees were planted in the early eighties and I am sure the landscape architects at that time knew that a coastal redwood grows well in our area. Mtn View is not that far from the coast. Now all over sudden these trees need to go because they are not native?
Why is that article not posted online, this council is in the hands of Google and developers.


Name hidden
The Crossings

on Sep 24, 2017 at 11:10 pm
Name hidden, The Crossings

on Sep 24, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Doug Pearson
Blossom Valley
on Sep 25, 2017 at 9:36 am
Doug Pearson, Blossom Valley
on Sep 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

Reply to David: I'm not an expert either but I do know the reason the Moffett/101 interchange was changed was to minimize interference between Shoreline/85/101 and Moffett/101 by separating the northbound 101 on ramp at Moffett from the northbound 101 off ramp at Shoreline.

I hope that helped 101 congestion at both interchanges but like you, I'm no expert.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

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