News

Five-story condos proposed along Middlefield Road, adding more housing to East Whisman neighborhood

Development delays caused by divisions over density allowed on vacant site

Five-story condos are proposed along Middlefield Road near the N. Whisman Road intersection. Courtesy The DeNardi Group.

A developer is looking to turn a vacant lot on Middlefield Road into high-density condos, adding to the growing number of housing proposals for the recently rezoned East Whisman area of Mountain View.

The project, located at 282 E. Middlefield Road, proposes building 91 for-sale condos on just over an acre of land near the N. Whisman Road intersection. With building heights in excess of 62 feet, the proposal would stand tall above the neighboring single-family homes, ratcheting up density in an area considered ripe for redevelopment.

It's exactly the kind of housing that city officials have been looking for, said Kevin DeNardi of the DeNardi Group, which submitted the application in May. It provides ownership condos in an area that's been flagged for housing growth, with a targeted sale price below $1 million. With nearby townhouses hitting $1.8 million and single-family homes approaching $3 million, he said it's important to fill a niche for more affordable options.

"This allows first-time home buyers a better price point to buy in at, and we feel strongly about that," DeNardi said.

Unlike other for-sale housing developments that pay the city a housing fee in lieu of building affordable units, DeNardi said the proposal includes 14 condos that will be sold at below-market rates.

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Though historically an office-heavy, industrial area of the city, East Whisman has been rezoned to allow up to 5,000 new housing units to transform into a dense, mixed-use neighborhood reliant on public transit and walkability. Other housing proposals for the area include 400 Logue and Google's massive Middlefield Park project.

What sets the latest condo development apart is that it won't be located in the highest-density core of East Whisman, but on the western fringe of East Whimsan in an area that's been dubbed the "village center." Focused on neighborhood retail for the future East Whisman neighborhood, the village center does allow for between 50 and 200 homes, which the DeNardi project would largely fill.

But the village center is meant for lower densities and conflicts with what the developer is seeking. The development would reach just under of 63 feet tall -- higher than the 50-foot height limit -- and would more than double the square footage allowed under the zoning for the property. It would also have 101 parking spaces, less than the 142 required by the city.

DeNardi said the plan is to use California's State Density Bonus Law to increase the number of condos that would normally be allowed under the city's plans. The same developer previously used that law to crank up density for a similar project on Gamel Way.

As it stands, DeNardi said city planning staff are still at odds with them over whether the density bonus is allowed. State law tends to calculate density by the number of units per acre, while the city is focused more on square footage. The proposal is to build 122,000 square feet of housing in a location where 50,000 is allowed under city zoning rules -- a massive increase, but still eligible for a waiver under state law, DeNardi said.

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DeNardi said it comes down to a "difference of opinion," and that the project is slated to come before the City Council for a public hearing on Nov. 16.

City staff did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the status of the development application.

Under the city's zoning for East Whisman, office development cannot proceed without a commensurate increase in housing, roughly translating to 3 housing units for every 1,000 square feet of offices. The hope is that residential developers will team up with office developers to preserve that balance and even provide incentives for housing to be built. DeNardi said he has yet to discuss a partnership with any officer developers, but that might change once the project is approved.

And while some housing proposals in East Whisman have collapsed due to the high cost of new construction, DeNardi said he believes that the Middlefield Road condo project can make it to the finish line.

"We are confident and we want to move forward," he said. "We want to add to the housing inventory in East Whisman as well as the inventory of for-sale condos."

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Five-story condos proposed along Middlefield Road, adding more housing to East Whisman neighborhood

Development delays caused by divisions over density allowed on vacant site

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Oct 4, 2021, 4:08 pm

A developer is looking to turn a vacant lot on Middlefield Road into high-density condos, adding to the growing number of housing proposals for the recently rezoned East Whisman area of Mountain View.

The project, located at 282 E. Middlefield Road, proposes building 91 for-sale condos on just over an acre of land near the N. Whisman Road intersection. With building heights in excess of 62 feet, the proposal would stand tall above the neighboring single-family homes, ratcheting up density in an area considered ripe for redevelopment.

It's exactly the kind of housing that city officials have been looking for, said Kevin DeNardi of the DeNardi Group, which submitted the application in May. It provides ownership condos in an area that's been flagged for housing growth, with a targeted sale price below $1 million. With nearby townhouses hitting $1.8 million and single-family homes approaching $3 million, he said it's important to fill a niche for more affordable options.

"This allows first-time home buyers a better price point to buy in at, and we feel strongly about that," DeNardi said.

Unlike other for-sale housing developments that pay the city a housing fee in lieu of building affordable units, DeNardi said the proposal includes 14 condos that will be sold at below-market rates.

Though historically an office-heavy, industrial area of the city, East Whisman has been rezoned to allow up to 5,000 new housing units to transform into a dense, mixed-use neighborhood reliant on public transit and walkability. Other housing proposals for the area include 400 Logue and Google's massive Middlefield Park project.

What sets the latest condo development apart is that it won't be located in the highest-density core of East Whisman, but on the western fringe of East Whimsan in an area that's been dubbed the "village center." Focused on neighborhood retail for the future East Whisman neighborhood, the village center does allow for between 50 and 200 homes, which the DeNardi project would largely fill.

But the village center is meant for lower densities and conflicts with what the developer is seeking. The development would reach just under of 63 feet tall -- higher than the 50-foot height limit -- and would more than double the square footage allowed under the zoning for the property. It would also have 101 parking spaces, less than the 142 required by the city.

DeNardi said the plan is to use California's State Density Bonus Law to increase the number of condos that would normally be allowed under the city's plans. The same developer previously used that law to crank up density for a similar project on Gamel Way.

As it stands, DeNardi said city planning staff are still at odds with them over whether the density bonus is allowed. State law tends to calculate density by the number of units per acre, while the city is focused more on square footage. The proposal is to build 122,000 square feet of housing in a location where 50,000 is allowed under city zoning rules -- a massive increase, but still eligible for a waiver under state law, DeNardi said.

DeNardi said it comes down to a "difference of opinion," and that the project is slated to come before the City Council for a public hearing on Nov. 16.

City staff did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the status of the development application.

Under the city's zoning for East Whisman, office development cannot proceed without a commensurate increase in housing, roughly translating to 3 housing units for every 1,000 square feet of offices. The hope is that residential developers will team up with office developers to preserve that balance and even provide incentives for housing to be built. DeNardi said he has yet to discuss a partnership with any officer developers, but that might change once the project is approved.

And while some housing proposals in East Whisman have collapsed due to the high cost of new construction, DeNardi said he believes that the Middlefield Road condo project can make it to the finish line.

"We are confident and we want to move forward," he said. "We want to add to the housing inventory in East Whisman as well as the inventory of for-sale condos."

Comments

SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Oct 4, 2021 at 5:44 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2021 at 5:44 pm

The latest City Development Update from August 2021 (see: Web Link

States that this project was:

"Under review. Tentatively scheduled for a City Council public hearing on August 24, 2021 for the applicant’s appeal of the City's determination that the development application is not complete."

What ever happened to that appeal?


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 4, 2021 at 6:29 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2021 at 6:29 pm

I used to live on E. Middlefield, very close to this project. There are single family homes on Flynn Ave that will now have a five story building constructed right next to them. I pity those poor people, I cannot even imagine.

Parking was already pretty scarce when I lived there. Only one parking space is planned per unit for this project so parking is going to be even more of a nightmare. Most of the units will only be affordable to the highest wage earners ... are they only going to have 1 car per family? Of course not. Also, there was not great public transportation in that area over twenty years ago, so a car for each working adult in the family will typically be a necessity. Is any urban planning being done to eliminate the need for these cars? I believe the answer is no. But that makes me a so-called "NIMBY", for having the audacity to even speak of such issues. More "virtuous" people ignore these issues and choose to let residents and neighbors duke it out among themselves when the easily forseen disputes and tensions arise.

Did I mention the heritage trees that will be cut down? To get 91 units ... an empty lot will be replaced with a stack and pack monstrosity. On the bright side, the site faces a mini-mall and office space on two sides. There are worse places in MV where a monstrosity such as this could be housed.

I like that these are proposed ownership units. Will they remain ownership units by the end of the proposal process? Maybe. Maybe not.

"Some council members were surprised at the June 22 meeting to see how much the project had evolved since then, protesting that the city's planning process [ALLOWS DEVELOPERS TO COMPLETELY REDESIGN PROJECTS] once they get their foot in the door." Web Link


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 4, 2021 at 8:12 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2021 at 8:12 pm

I know, Leslie! I can't see why anyone would call you a NIMBY. In the middle of a generational housing crisis, you just want to make sure no one can see the new building, that it's not "stack and pack," and that the city mandate plentiful homes for cars. That's just good urban planning.


marknn
Registered user
North Whisman
on Oct 4, 2021 at 10:18 pm
marknn, North Whisman
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2021 at 10:18 pm

@Leslie, I own a house next to the proposed development, right between this, and the almost completed townhomes on flynn, and I welcome this project and the other. Just like i welcome townhome development in my literal backyard on the other side. No pity required.

This would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, compared to the current abandoned lot which is an eye sore. Condos are modest in size (<1000 sq ft average), so mostly suitable for young couples or singles and 1 car is plenty of parking per condo. It is literally a short walk away from bunch of major employers (Linked In, Google) and a bike ride away from others (Microsoft, Intuit and the rest of Google campuses). Plenty of families don't need two cars and for them this will be a great deal.

There is plenty of urban planning happening in the neighborhood, you should check out the east whisman redevelopment plan.


Courtney
Registered user
North Whisman
on Oct 4, 2021 at 11:19 pm
Courtney, North Whisman
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2021 at 11:19 pm

I live a short distance from the proposed development, and though I welcome increased density, I also know that there is insufficient street parking in our neighborhood to absorb the overflow that will definitely happen when couples living in this proposed development, each with their own car to take them to their separate workplaces, find themselves with no place to park at the end of a long day because the developer chose not to provide enough parking spaces.

The person who said there was plenty of parking in the area may be thinking of all the corporate parking associated with corporations like Google and Symantec, but trust me, there is very little public parking available. Google does not consider itself a public parking lot and if you try to use it as such, you may wander out in the morning to find your car has been towed at your expense. You can't park on Middlefield, you can only park in a handful of places on Whisman, and Easy Street, Flynn, Tyrella and Sherland have most of their street parking filled with the cars of people already living there, with very few open spaces We could not absorb another 90 cars.

By all means, bring density. But don't try to fool us into thinking that 91 units will only have single people living in them or people who only own one car. I'm surprised that the developer wants to take the risk. The value of his property will suffer from the lack of parking. Get real - make it a 4-story building, or a 3-story building - whatever number of units it takes to make the parking ratio appropriate for Silicon Valley transportation patterns.

Perhaps the developer has never walked the neighborhood. Perhaps he is spinning stories to make his proposal more attractive. But the City Council should know better. Mountain View is their town. They need to deal with reality, not succumb to a fantasy. This is not a time for smoke and mirrors.


I can't breathe pollution
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Oct 5, 2021 at 12:14 am
I can't breathe pollution, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 12:14 am

This proposed building is way too large
The foundation will go significantly underground, damaging the surrounding ecosystem immensely.
Packing people in this densely is unhealthy, as should be obvious by the need for parking waivers and exceptions, as well as the complete demolition of greenery and severe lack of open space


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 3:13 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 3:13 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 7:36 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 7:36 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 7:53 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 7:53 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]






Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:12 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:12 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:42 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:42 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:53 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:53 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:57 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 8:57 am

[Posts removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 9:40 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 9:40 am

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 10:42 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 10:48 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 10:48 am

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:15 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:15 am

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:26 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:26 am

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:46 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:46 am

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 12:08 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 1:05 pm

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 1:14 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 1:14 pm

[Post removed due to personal attacks]


Longview
Registered user
Slater
on Oct 5, 2021 at 2:50 pm
Longview, Slater
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 2:50 pm

New condos for under $1M is not targeting "highest earners". A two income family at the county median income or even a little less can afford this. And it is great to see the BMR ownership units as well. As to the parking - I live in a near by condo complex, and many people remain working from home, including myself. As long as 1 person in a two person household is working from home, one car works!


Rachel Alvelais
Registered user
North Whisman
on Oct 5, 2021 at 3:36 pm
Rachel Alvelais , North Whisman
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 3:36 pm

This down the street from us. The space is surrounded by single family homes, most residents drive, and this building will tower over us and crowd us further.

The City Council reportedly regrets that they have to approve so many new developments that are displacing lower- and middle income families, but the City is in charge of zoning and has the ability to decide against these. There is a hearing on October 12 where this is supposed to come up, I hope many of us call in to speak against this huge project.

I am not against new housing as described in the article, but this developer is trying to push more units and a higher building than even the new zoning written by the council for East Whisman. Please speak up against this!


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 5, 2021 at 4:07 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 4:07 pm

The area of Mountain View bordered by 85, 101 and Sunnyvale is essentially the East Berlin of Mtn View. We have no say, all projects are rubberstamped with no regard for residents' concerns of parking or traffic. You won't see a 450+ apartment complex going up west of El Camino Real in Mtn View, but take a drive down Evelyn Ave. You will see a massive Prometheus complex, minimal setback from the sidewalk, inadequate parking. Jammed-up against the affordable housing literally on Sunnyvale border next to a gas station and towering over existing townhouses and apartments. And these are not homes, this is temp housing for the affluent, average stay of about 2 years. And BTW all these new projects are protected from rent control by Costa Hawkins.


jordydog1
Registered user
Slater
on Oct 5, 2021 at 4:27 pm
jordydog1, Slater
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2021 at 4:27 pm

I’m still waiting to hear about infrastructure improvements for the hundreds of new 1- or no-car residents of the proposed developments. The Shoreline Safeway is the only supermarket that’s maybe in walking distance, the elementary school is at capacity, and the few restaurants near the Dollar General are already busy. Even now, it’s often impossible to get a maple glazed donut if you arrive at Roger’s after 8:30 am!


Dr. Wille
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Oct 6, 2021 at 1:50 am
Dr. Wille, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2021 at 1:50 am

Goodness, as if we didn't have enough half filled high rise buidings around here anyways. Ridiculous to say they will have units at "below market price" when these developers are the ones colluding and determining the market price.
Such a sad state of affairs here, because it's not more housing we need, but more affordable housing. Truly affordable, not "I only make $120k at Google not including my bonus" affordable.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2021 at 8:14 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2021 at 8:14 am

NIMBY rhetoric is really out there! On what planet is a five-story building a "high-rise"? Where are all the buildings with 50% vacancy rate?

People who are completely detached from the housing market aside from complaining about new buildings and seeing their property values soar really should not be commenting on collusion that keeps prices high...


Seth Neumann
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Oct 6, 2021 at 10:23 am
Seth Neumann, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2021 at 10:23 am

well I don't see how they are going to hit that $1M/unit sale price if it's costing the city $1M to BUILD the 120 BMR units downtown and the developer in North Bayshore is complaining that his project doesn't pencil out without more office space (his costs were about $850K 2 or 3 years ago when last reported in the Voice). Still any housing is good housing with a deficit of 500K units in the Bay Area.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 6, 2021 at 11:17 am
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2021 at 11:17 am

@Frank Richards. On what planet is a five-story building a "high-rise"? LOS ALTOS

Where are all the buildings with 50% vacancy rate? THERE ARE MOVE-IN PROMOS ALL OVER THE VALLEY. OPEN YOUR EYES.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2021 at 12:16 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2021 at 12:16 pm

MyOpinion, why are you shouting?

Just because NIMBYs in Los Altos and Mountain View recoil at the thought of a building taller than a person, that does not make those building high rises.

Just because a building offers move-in incentives does not mean it's half-empty.


Rachel Alvelais
Registered user
North Whisman
on Oct 11, 2021 at 4:59 pm
Rachel Alvelais , North Whisman
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2021 at 4:59 pm

I’m in favor of more housing, and realize that multi-story, multi-unit buildings will replace single family homes in the Whisman area. It’s not a higher-density building we object to, it’s the excessive height and number of units. The proposed building is five stories high, in a neighborhood where even new developments are a maximum of three stories.

For perspective, the development on Moffett and Central Expressway, across from Castro and downtown, is four stories. What is proposed here is something more like Santana Row - which by the way is still only four stories high.

The developer seems to be making some pretty bold assumptions about the lifestyles of the future residents of his building: that they will have only one car or no car for a household of two or more people, that they will have jobs within range of existing public transit, that they will use public transit for all activities. The City seems not to think there will be more kids needing school space, that there will not be an increased burden on fire and public safety resources, or traffic control! that those who purchase units below market will not sell them soon at higher prices.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Oct 16, 2021 at 9:03 am
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2021 at 9:03 am

Regarding the "difference of opinion," the EPC will review that proposal next Wednesday and the City is recommending denying that proposal. The meeting materials provide all the details behind that denial.


Rachel Alvelais
Registered user
North Whisman
on Oct 16, 2021 at 9:20 am
Rachel Alvelais , North Whisman
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2021 at 9:20 am

Thank you @SRB, that is good news. But I will continue to voice my objections just to make sure.

There are several new multi-unit developments in the area that are moving forward which we in the neighborhood are accepting (with some grumbling). So I appreciate the City recognizing this one doesn’t fit.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 16, 2021 at 10:24 am
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2021 at 10:24 am

That's great news! I'm glad we'll be able to preserve the majestic splendor of the blighted lot next to the Rotten Robbie rather than spoil it with too many homes.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Oct 16, 2021 at 4:05 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2021 at 4:05 pm

@Rachel. It looks like the City objection is rooted in the developer willfully ignoring any of the densities set after years of planning for East Whisman upzoning.


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