News

In a quest to spur housing growth, Mountain View looks to redeveloping shopping centers

The Blossom Valley Shopping Center on Miramonte Avenue could be the site of mixed-use housing. Courtesy Google maps.

As cities across California search for new places to allow more housing growth, Mountain View is relying on a new approach that would permit commercial properties like strip malls and shopping centers to redevelop into housing.

The city recently released its draft housing element, a blueprint for how Mountain View will meet state requirements for housing growth between 2023 and 2031. The 286-page strategy lays out a spurt in development that would allow for a whopping 15,100 new units, a comfortable margin over the 11,135 mandated under the state's Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).

If all those units are built, it would crank up the city's total housing stock by just over 40%.

In order to get there, the city's so-called site inventory contemplates a rapid pattern of redevelopment on commercial properties. Some of those properties have since dropped off the city's list, including the Target on Showers Drive (the owner has no intent to redevelop) and 901 N. Rengstorff Avenue.

But what's new to the inventory, and was a focus at the city's May 18 Environmental Planning Commission, is the addition of what are called General Plan Village Centers, which include several shopping centers that serve neighborhoods throughout Mountain View. In other words, housing – in some cases at high densities – would be allowed in places like the Grant Park Plaza and the Blossom Valley Shopping Center. Smaller strip malls like 400 Moffett and the commercial retail at the corner of Central Expressway and Rengstorff Avenue would also be included in the rezone.

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"Many of these sites align with a variety of the evaluation criteria that make them ideal candidates for residential development given their proximity to services, goods, amenities, and transit," according to the draft housing element.

These commercial mixed-use districts would generally be permitted to have up to 30 units per acre, but more density will be allowed in the Grant Park Plaza, which could realistically allow for up to 50 units per acre, according to city staff. The plan is to rezone all General Plan Village Centers to allow for multifamily housing while still maintaining its designation as a village center – a place for neighborhood-serving stores and services.

Several "Village Centers" currently serving as shopping malls could be candidates for housing growth, providing a dense mix of both housing and commercial uses. Courtesy city of Mountain View.

The prospect of losing these plazas to residential redevelopment had some residents and commission members worried. Robert Cox, speaking on behalf of Livable Mountain View, said any future development on these sites needs to include the same amount of retail it bulldozed in the process.

"If we are to have a walkable community, we cannot condemn our residents to driving ever-further distances to buy groceries, use services and enjoy locations where they can get together," Cox said. "Let's say that comparable retail is what we want up front now, rather than having to fight for it each time a redevelopment proposal comes forward."

The commission generally opposed the idea of cannibalizing retail in order to spur housing growth, and argued with staff's choice of words that the rezone would "maintain minimum retail." City principal planner Eric Anderson clarified that the plan is to measure the existing square footage of retail space in each of the village centers and make that the bare minimum required under redevelopment.

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Parks and parking as barriers to housing

As part of the housing element update, cities are required to take a close look at what's preventing housing growth, including design constraints and cost burdens that could prevent developers from building otherwise compliant projects.

In Mountain View, that means finding ways to ease the sky-high cost of open space and park fees, an expensive obligation that developers say prevent projects from penciling out.

By the city's own estimate, a developer looking to build housing is going to have to either set aside costly real estate for open space or pay a fee that can run between $51,600 to $74,400 per market-rate unit. The city's Community Services Department is set to consider revisions to park dedication requirements, which is expected to find ways to "reduce constraints on residential development."

In a letter to the commission, resident James Kuszmaul said the city should bring down the cost of park fees until housing is economically feasible, pointing to a 2019 memo that cited significant cost constraints in building homes in the East Whisman area. The report found that, barring some reduction in project cost or financial assistance, residential development in the area may not get built.

How exactly the city plans to soften the blow of park fees is still up in the air, but the idea was enough to raise concerns that the drive for more housing could lead to a dearth of open space. Resident Bill Lambert told commission members in a letter that parks shouldn't just be seen as a "major cost factor," and that the city should avoid taking a singular focus on housing growth.

"Providing and increasing meaningful parkland is a critical community investment and opportunity to improve the quality of life in Mountain View," Lambert said.

Silja Paymer, a member of the group GreenSpacesMV, argued that if anything the park fees are too low and already fall short of providing three acres of parks for every 1,000 residents. Developers shouldn't be expected to pick up all the slack, she said, but they should at least meet that bare minimum.

Principal planner Eric Anderson said the city isn't necessarily going to ditch its ratio of parks to residents, and that there can be a balanced approach to providing park space without killing the feasibility of residential development.

"There's plenty on the table in terms of how we can update our park land dedication standards in order to both reflect the housing needs of the community and lower barriers to creating housing, as well as also maintaining the quality of open space and the accessibility to open space that the community expects," Anderson said.

Though less of a hurdle to housing growth, city staff also cited parking requirements as a burden worth tweaking. Specifically, Mountain View could reduce the number of spaces required for all-affordable housing projects, where tenants typically drive less and use public transit at higher rates.

The City Council is expected to review the housing element on June 14. An environmental study of the housing element update will also be available for review in July.

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Kevin Forestieri
Kevin Forestieri is an assistant editor with the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. He joined the Voice in 2014 and has reported on schools, housing, crime and health. Read more >>

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In a quest to spur housing growth, Mountain View looks to redeveloping shopping centers

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, May 20, 2022, 12:26 pm

As cities across California search for new places to allow more housing growth, Mountain View is relying on a new approach that would permit commercial properties like strip malls and shopping centers to redevelop into housing.

The city recently released its draft housing element, a blueprint for how Mountain View will meet state requirements for housing growth between 2023 and 2031. The 286-page strategy lays out a spurt in development that would allow for a whopping 15,100 new units, a comfortable margin over the 11,135 mandated under the state's Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).

If all those units are built, it would crank up the city's total housing stock by just over 40%.

In order to get there, the city's so-called site inventory contemplates a rapid pattern of redevelopment on commercial properties. Some of those properties have since dropped off the city's list, including the Target on Showers Drive (the owner has no intent to redevelop) and 901 N. Rengstorff Avenue.

But what's new to the inventory, and was a focus at the city's May 18 Environmental Planning Commission, is the addition of what are called General Plan Village Centers, which include several shopping centers that serve neighborhoods throughout Mountain View. In other words, housing – in some cases at high densities – would be allowed in places like the Grant Park Plaza and the Blossom Valley Shopping Center. Smaller strip malls like 400 Moffett and the commercial retail at the corner of Central Expressway and Rengstorff Avenue would also be included in the rezone.

"Many of these sites align with a variety of the evaluation criteria that make them ideal candidates for residential development given their proximity to services, goods, amenities, and transit," according to the draft housing element.

These commercial mixed-use districts would generally be permitted to have up to 30 units per acre, but more density will be allowed in the Grant Park Plaza, which could realistically allow for up to 50 units per acre, according to city staff. The plan is to rezone all General Plan Village Centers to allow for multifamily housing while still maintaining its designation as a village center – a place for neighborhood-serving stores and services.

The prospect of losing these plazas to residential redevelopment had some residents and commission members worried. Robert Cox, speaking on behalf of Livable Mountain View, said any future development on these sites needs to include the same amount of retail it bulldozed in the process.

"If we are to have a walkable community, we cannot condemn our residents to driving ever-further distances to buy groceries, use services and enjoy locations where they can get together," Cox said. "Let's say that comparable retail is what we want up front now, rather than having to fight for it each time a redevelopment proposal comes forward."

The commission generally opposed the idea of cannibalizing retail in order to spur housing growth, and argued with staff's choice of words that the rezone would "maintain minimum retail." City principal planner Eric Anderson clarified that the plan is to measure the existing square footage of retail space in each of the village centers and make that the bare minimum required under redevelopment.

Parks and parking as barriers to housing

As part of the housing element update, cities are required to take a close look at what's preventing housing growth, including design constraints and cost burdens that could prevent developers from building otherwise compliant projects.

In Mountain View, that means finding ways to ease the sky-high cost of open space and park fees, an expensive obligation that developers say prevent projects from penciling out.

By the city's own estimate, a developer looking to build housing is going to have to either set aside costly real estate for open space or pay a fee that can run between $51,600 to $74,400 per market-rate unit. The city's Community Services Department is set to consider revisions to park dedication requirements, which is expected to find ways to "reduce constraints on residential development."

In a letter to the commission, resident James Kuszmaul said the city should bring down the cost of park fees until housing is economically feasible, pointing to a 2019 memo that cited significant cost constraints in building homes in the East Whisman area. The report found that, barring some reduction in project cost or financial assistance, residential development in the area may not get built.

How exactly the city plans to soften the blow of park fees is still up in the air, but the idea was enough to raise concerns that the drive for more housing could lead to a dearth of open space. Resident Bill Lambert told commission members in a letter that parks shouldn't just be seen as a "major cost factor," and that the city should avoid taking a singular focus on housing growth.

"Providing and increasing meaningful parkland is a critical community investment and opportunity to improve the quality of life in Mountain View," Lambert said.

Silja Paymer, a member of the group GreenSpacesMV, argued that if anything the park fees are too low and already fall short of providing three acres of parks for every 1,000 residents. Developers shouldn't be expected to pick up all the slack, she said, but they should at least meet that bare minimum.

Principal planner Eric Anderson said the city isn't necessarily going to ditch its ratio of parks to residents, and that there can be a balanced approach to providing park space without killing the feasibility of residential development.

"There's plenty on the table in terms of how we can update our park land dedication standards in order to both reflect the housing needs of the community and lower barriers to creating housing, as well as also maintaining the quality of open space and the accessibility to open space that the community expects," Anderson said.

Though less of a hurdle to housing growth, city staff also cited parking requirements as a burden worth tweaking. Specifically, Mountain View could reduce the number of spaces required for all-affordable housing projects, where tenants typically drive less and use public transit at higher rates.

The City Council is expected to review the housing element on June 14. An environmental study of the housing element update will also be available for review in July.

Comments

Another MV Resident
Registered user
Willowgate
on May 20, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Another MV Resident, Willowgate
Registered user
on May 20, 2022 at 3:11 pm

This is awesome. Let’s go mixed use!!


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 20, 2022 at 5:08 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 20, 2022 at 5:08 pm

Mountain View YIMBY believes that -- much as we might like to see "a whopping 15,100 new units" -- this is a serious overestimate. It's good to see the "village centers" added to the list, though. I've personally been waiting for years for the property at Central and Rengstorff to be redeveloped.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 20, 2022 at 6:34 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 20, 2022 at 6:34 pm

What can happen with the mixed use allowing residential is that a mixed use residential/office/commercial project can be proposed. So this is a way to get more office space in shopping centers, so long as some residential is included. "Highest and best use" for the owner would favor adding office space. Once the property owner receives this entitlement, the land value goes up. That also favors use for office space and reductions of retail space. What housing is built from this will be THE MOST expensive created anywhere in the city. It's more benefit for real estate developers than for housing.


Mark
Registered user
Monta Loma
on May 21, 2022 at 6:18 am
Mark, Monta Loma
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 6:18 am

Personally, I've had to change either a job or a work location twice in the past two years in Mountain iew, due no doubt to the greed of real estate developers, and willingness of the city council to accede to any demand Google makes upon the community. The most obvious one is, "more homes, for more Google-oids!" You will never be finished building this town. A lot of people enjoyed MV "the way it was" -and apparently the only people who don't notice how f'd up the Peninsula has become since 1989, are all the people who've transplanted here in the play of this high tech bubble, which one day ultimately will burst again. (Woe to the CIty Council on that day!) Apparently the pandemic "work from home" was just a fad. And O, how lucky we are, who "can afford to" keep on here.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 21, 2022 at 1:46 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 1:46 pm

The state regulations that spawned this recent round of redesignations in the city zoning code are quite old. We're running on a plan made many years ago. The Housing and Community Development department is arguably straying from the intent of the legislature in how they push these quotas to such extreme heights.

There really is shift in work habits and a lot of remote work is still happening. It does change things regarding housing preferences for employees, which are a complex choice to start with. One thing that will affect this is just what new housing actually gets built, how much it does cost, and what characteristics it has. Google employees aren't all going to like the new choices. If Blossom Hill shopping center gets redeveloped to 4 stories with luxury condos on the upper levels of some building (and offices in upper spots of other buildings, like they have now but limited to just 2 stories), then Google employees aren't very likely to choose that location to live.

The problem with falsely declaring a massive shortage of market rate housing is that it's not just untrue, but the actual market conditions don't allow for investors to fund something to sale to a fake need.... what will end up is something extreme that will work for a few odd cases, like new $3.5M condo flats to sell as cheaper than nearby $4M homes of a more traditional nature. Worse still, in 4+ years' time when the condos hit the market the homes may have popped up to $4.5M and then dropped back down to $3.5M themselves. By then we should know what actual demand the area has for housing so as to be close when working at Google, and also with the effect of any subsidized units added to serve lower income people who current use market rate housing at the lower end of the price range. The state is finally actually spending some money to build BMR units and that is a real change that is overdue.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 21, 2022 at 2:44 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 2:44 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 21, 2022 at 3:21 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 3:21 pm

What's important is to consider nuances. Randy Guelph makes fun of me for seeing things to which he is oblivious. I'll bet he doesn't even know that a lot of these shopping plazas already have offices within them. I've got the benefit of having been observant. I've seen other areas where the presence of office space in shopping "plazas" is more than what we have here.

What I simply said about this push to squeeze more into shopping centers is that it would be highly useful in terms of increasing housing to watch out for the likelihood of these development projects adding surprising amounts of new office space in addition to any new housing. The concern does involve nuance. It's too intense for Randy, but I want to make sure my point is clear, not made in the way he restates it.

IF SHOPPING PLAZAS are to be used as a location for housing, WATCH OUT for very expensive projects that include pricey housing (condos) and office space rather than actually adding useful housing to the area. What I would be supportive of is efforts to add BMR units at these locations, not market rate. So if we get 60,000 sq feet of new office space and 70,000 sf of new residential space, even with preserving existing retail (and existing office space usages), I don't consider that to be much of a win. What's likely is that the housing breaks down to 50 1300 sf luxury apartments and 7 700 sf BMR units. This is a big mess to go through just to add 7 BMR units.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 21, 2022 at 3:48 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 3:48 pm

Buddy, you said there's no shortage of market rate housing in the same breath as talking about $3.5M condos. That's not nuance, it's just denying reality.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 21, 2022 at 4:02 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 4:02 pm

This is the insidious lie. Conflating BMR and market rate is dangerous for progress. BMR housing shortages is what's important, not some need to get more market rate with public subsidy or special treatment. Don't treat market rate projects specially. If there is a shortage of market rate housing, developers aren't going to build new units market rate so as to be less valuable than what's currently here. Paying them to do it with public benefits is a misallocation of subsidy. But if you see a situation where a lot of BMR-ellgible tenants are currently forced to pay market rate, THAT is actually driving up rents. Provide the needed BMR units and it will reduce market rate rents, but without needing to get more actual new market rate units.

I'd like to know how you could possibly move a lot of low income people from higher cost market rate housing into BMR units WITHOUT acting to free up market rate units.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 21, 2022 at 4:36 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 4:36 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 21, 2022 at 7:32 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 7:32 pm

There are older condos selling for $1.5 million. A developer's brand new condos in a ritzy mixed use development would be fancier and go for more. There is a shortage of luxury condos for those seeking a status symbol but pricing in 4 years or 6 years is tbd.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 21, 2022 at 7:39 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 21, 2022 at 7:39 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Ron
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on May 22, 2022 at 8:10 am
Ron, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 8:10 am

Dear Mountain View City Council members,

My family and I have lived in Blossom Valley for 12 years. The Blossom Valley Shopping Center is *the thing* that makes our community walkable. If we need 1-2 bags of groceries, we walk to Safeway. If we need medicine, we can walk to CVS. We can walk our kids to their dentist appointments. If I need a haircut, I walk to Great Clips. If I need cash, I walk to the Wells Fargo ATM. If we need to send a package or get stamps, we can walk to the Mail All Center. When I needed therapy on my shoulder a couple of years ago, I could walk to the Peak Physical Therapy. Bulldozing Blossom Valley Shopping Center would massively impact the walkability and sustainability of Blossom Valley. Furthermore, if Grant Park Plaza is bulldozed at the same time, we would need to get in a car for a 10+ minute drive for any of the errands I mentioned above.

Please consider the walkability and sustainability of Blossom Valley as you evaluate these shopping centers. Also, please proactively include Blossom Valley residents in any discussions; bulldozing either/both of these centers would dramatically impact our daily lives.


Juan
Registered user
another community
on May 22, 2022 at 8:32 am
Juan, another community
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 8:32 am

If you want to increase affordable housing then build affordable housing. Giving handouts to billionaire developers to build luxury housing does not increase affordability, just the opposite. It displaces long-time families through gentrification and increases rents.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 22, 2022 at 1:55 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 1:55 pm

The idea that shopping centers need to densify for the sake of being dense is a problem too. So many of the virtue signalers say dogmatic but impractical things. One is a need to build more housing "Opportunity" on the foothills side of El Camino Real but yet not too close to ECR (because ECR is already showing 'opportunity' for growth).

When you analyze this it runs against other reasonable concerns. In essence what they are pushing is a token amount of density that just doesn't matter. The city is 12 square miles in area. The area on that side of ECR is 2.5 square miles. There is a lot of planned development along ECR on that side, in an area near ECR which makes up about an entire square mile.

Arbitrarily, they are saying that more needs to be located just within the reamining 1.5 square miles further away from ECR, as in further away from efforts to provide a transit corridor along ECR. So they are advocating for density in an awkward location transitwise. They are zeroing in on a particular 1.5 square miles out of 12.

OK, so Blossom Hill Shopping Center is 0.01 square miles in size. Is that really going to even make difference in their dogma?

This is why what's likely is that the housing catalyzed by this change in zoning is going to be 80% exclusive, status symbol worthy, luxury housing that differs from the new housing built along ECR by being even more expensive.

So, effectively you are left with 20% of the housing being perhaps BMR units on a 0.1 square mile portion of the city's overall 12 square miles.

Which is why I also especially point out that development like this typically would also include office space, which would similarly benefit from the cachet of the particular location. The density for the neighbors is likely to be 50% office space and 50% new housing, and all will likely be expensive in its category. It's all a huge windfall for the REIT that owns the shopping center. Gross. Capitalism at its worst.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 22, 2022 at 2:39 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 2:39 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Tom Halstrom
Registered user
another community
on May 22, 2022 at 3:50 pm
Tom Halstrom, another community
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 3:50 pm

"Longresident" is spot-on.

First, declaring something a "crisis" is something the State is good at, but the reality is that there's a crisis of _affordable_ housing, there's plenty of unaffordable market-rate housing. Building more unaffordable housing doesn't bring down prices, in-fact rezoning this land will drive up the land value and drive up prices. The "law of supply and demand" is not an actual law!

Second, housing is net negative on a city's finances, the property tax does not cover the cost of services. Losing sales-tax generating retail is something that needs to be avoided.

Third, the article has one big false statement in it: "Mountain View could reduce the number of spaces required for all-affordable housing projects, where tenants typically drive less and use public transit at higher rates." Low-income tenants have an even greater need for a vehicle than high-income residents, many of whom can remote work.

It would be a grave mistake for the city to relax parking requirements for low-income housing.

From: Web Link

"Access to a car is associated with upward economic mobility for low-income households,"

"Carless households are more likely to miss and delay medical care. Having a car increases school choice and children in households without cars are less likely to participate in school activities, leading to lower educational attainment, less likelihood of being employed, and lower earnings later in life."

"Studies using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Moving to Opportunity experiment found that access to a car enabled low-income households to move to low-poverty neighborhoods."

The city should also look at increasing development fees, especially park fees, which are currently far too low.


Tom Halstrom
Registered user
another community
on May 22, 2022 at 3:54 pm
Tom Halstrom, another community
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Juan, you are exactly right! The idea that we can solve the affordable housing crisis by building market-rate housing is ludicrous. We currently have a glut of unaffordable market-rate rental housing.

We must not subsidize property owners that are building market-rate housing by reducing development fees that are already too low to provide the necessary services.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 22, 2022 at 4:13 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 4:13 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and disrespectful posts]


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 22, 2022 at 5:59 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 5:59 pm

There is so much housing being built that construction costs are very high. Builders will time construction so it's already coming. Rushing is always expensive.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 23, 2022 at 1:28 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 1:28 pm

Moderators, it's absurd that you've deleted my comments. None of them were disrespectful or offensive. I was simply firmly holding the other posters to reality: they continue to make absurd false claims that there is plenty of a glut of housing, at the same time that they reference multimillion dollar homes.

If mine were "excessive," why are you letting LongResident's stay up?


Another MV Resident
Registered user
Willowgate
on May 24, 2022 at 6:27 am
Another MV Resident, Willowgate
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 6:27 am

I hope the people in this forum other than Randy are a tiny vocal minority. With any luck, they’re just your local town cranks who will get ignored so the city can move on and make progress.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 24, 2022 at 12:59 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Facts matter. Reality matters. Wishful thinking isn't a way to ensure progress. Plenty of housing is being added. The whole YIMBY movement strives to be activist and push for change for the sake of change. This does not mean that all their ideas are good ones. The real problem with this shopping center inclusion is the changes aside from creating a small amount of more housing. All the office space already existing in Blossom Valley is a lucrative income producer for the out of town REIT that owns the shopping center. Adding more of it is likely to be a priority for any future development. They aren't holding the investment for the sake of politics. They put dollars in where it will get the highest return, whether it be on the most expensive segment of the housing market (more profit) or boutique office space in a unique area across from a convent and a parochial school and near a large city park. These extra features are adding to the expense and to the return for developments in Blossom Valley, and there can even be similar factors in other shopping centers within the city.

The YIMBY agitators should be grateful for the constructive criticism of the proposals to encourage so much out of place office development as a side effect of what they are intending. Some of them actually think adding more jobs is also what we need, in an area where the biggest thing going on is shift jobs here from other areas fairly close that want and need the amount of jobs that they have. What we need is more consideration of the effects of development.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 24, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 1:13 pm

My man, you are right, facts and reality matter, which is why your claim that there is no shortage of market rate housing, while talking about old $1.5M condos and new $3.5M condos is so striking. Facts and reality matter, man.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 24, 2022 at 1:54 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Prices aren't completely uniform across all housing types based on the overall "shortage" or lack thereof. Recently a new house over in Martens Carmelita resold for $5.4 Million after previously selling for $4.4 Million 16 months earlier, right after being completed. I would not say there are no homes available, even single family homes, for well under $4 Million. The pricing was not created by the overall shortage, but if anything by a shortage of luxury homes.

If you did seek to create a luxury multitenant complex in the city, to distinguish your project from the other newly constructed projects, how would you go about doing so? Maybe it would be condos or maybe rental units. But the probability is that a key criteria would be location of that project. Brand new housing at Blossom Valley Shopping Center would be expensive if it happens at all. It's the nature of the project, not the overall market, that would drive up the price for a condo to double what's found in other cases.

That's exactly what happened to the $5.4 Million SFH. It sold for double what houses go for in other areas. The odd thing would be to stick your head in the sand and say a new home over in Blossom Valley, WITH LASD SCHOOLS, would NOT be over $3 Million if it were sold as a condo and was properly developed for the high end market, in Mountain View.

A corollary of this is that granting a property owner a windfall density bonus like this is much more lucrative for Blossom Valley than it would be in any other area of the city. The LWV wants there to be more housing in the area, but they don't realize that it will be mostly out of reach for lower income levels, or even many above average income levels. Only a few BMR units would bring lower income folks to that location, as a minority of new school children from added housing. It would work out to about the same proportion of financially disadvantaged kids as already attend Springer Elementary School--not raising the proportion at all.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 24, 2022 at 2:02 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 2:02 pm

My main point though is that people will be surprised by how much office spaces is created at Blossom Valley if this zoning change is made. I'm not just saying watch out because the homes will be expensive. I'm saying it's a lot of change and added density which will worsen the jobs housing imbalance in the city, and only create a handful of new BMR units.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm

This is insane. You see old homes sell for multiple millions and you're telling us that it's a "luxury home", so not indicative of a shortage. Somehow prices are just a natural occurrence that has nothing to do with the number of homes available. Facts and reality matter, man.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 24, 2022 at 2:22 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 2:22 pm

Finally my point has been recapitulated by R.G. accurately. Yes, exactly. "old homes sell for multiple millions and you're telling us that it's a "luxury home", so not indicative of a shortage." That's why the upper end of the price ranges goes so high, luxury. But for a developer the issue is that per square foot, the higher selling price means more profit. So the developer gravitates to that type of project.

This is also why so much of the construction labor in the area is going to teardowns and rebuild of already expensive SFH, so as to make them even more fancy. Look around all over and you see old homes being made more expensive, actively, by adding on to them or gutting and restoring to new finishes in modern fads of design.


MyOpinion
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on May 24, 2022 at 2:42 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 2:42 pm

when Google has 'had its day' Mountain View going to be in a world of hurt.

Ever hear the expression don't put your eggs in one basket? 40-50 years ago Hewlett Packard was THE place to work with locations all over the bay area (including what is now Agilent technologies). I suppose the current crop of 20,30 something techies don't believe that, but it is very true.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 24, 2022 at 2:59 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 2:59 pm

My dude, you have no connection to reality. Your circular reasoning is that, in a shortage, prices of homes rise drastically, making them increasingly unaffordable, and you use that as evidence that there is no shortage as all the homes are now "luxury", therefore adding homes won't slow or reverse the rise of prices.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 24, 2022 at 3:06 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 3:06 pm

The issue with Google is how they have prospectively locked up a whole lot more office space years or decades in advance of their expected need. They have made a long game of investing in the very real estate which they are pumping up in value. So Google would worst case developed into a large REIT investing in Bay Area office real estate, even if their core businesses evaporated. HP never did anything like that.

I'm not saying that Google's other issues aren't important now, but just that their long game has additional effects. They have pumped up the real estate market more than they needed to at this point, by seeking to hedge against future appreciation affecting their potential expansion plans.

Similar things are happening in other real estate areas. Basically many REIT's and other corporations are acting to pump up real estate prices more than needed to happen, for their own gain. It's related to what caused us the 2 most recent recessions, such as convoluted investment vehicles traded on Wall Street that harmed the economy in the end.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on May 28, 2022 at 2:14 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on May 28, 2022 at 2:14 pm

I just put together why LongResident is so opposed to more homes in Mountain View South of El Camino. They're probably a Los Altos resident near the Mountain View border there, so while they virtue signal about demanding more BMR homes elsewhere, they don't want to see any of them crop up in their neck of the woods!


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