The project site at 700 E. Middlefield Road currently consists of several one- and two-story office buildings, some of which remain vacant. The company's plans call for tearing down about half the buildings and replacing them with a trio of six-story offices and two parking garages. When finished, the project is expected to add about 3,060 employees.
Both LinkedIn and city officials described the project as a significant investment being made by the company to stay in Mountain View.
"This is not just another building for us; this is the future of LinkenIn in Mountain View," said LinkedIn Vice President Jim Morgenstern. "We're asking for your support to allow us to continue growing in Mountain View."
LinkedIn first began focusing its effort on the East Middlefield site in 2016 after agreeing to a massive land trade with Google. In that deal, Google received rights to develop several North Bayshore properties, as well as the lease for the Shoreline Technology Center, which the company revealed last month it recently purchased for $1 billion. For LinkedIn, the trade gave the company full ownership of the East Middlefield office park in exchange for its foothold in North Bayshore.
It became an open question whether LinkedIn would still stake its future in Mountain View, especially for its corporate headquarters. Soon after the land swap with Google, LinkedIn backed out of plans to move into a new office building at the San Antonio Shopping Center, which is now being leased to Facebook.
The news that LinkedIn was still committed to expanding in Mountain View was a welcome sign for city leaders.
"This has set a precedent for other projects to follow," said Councilman Chris Clark. "This is a great project and we're thrilled to have LinkedIn staying here as well."
In past public meetings, the project faced some opposition from Sunnyvale neighbors living just to the east of the office site. If the project were built, they complained they would be staring at a six-story garage when they looked out the front windows of their homes.
In the project's final approved version, LinkedIn agreed to set back the garages farther from the street and reduce their height by putting one story underground. The company said it was simply too expensive to put the entire parking garage underground. Those changes apparently mollified the neighbors: At the Nov. 27 meeting, not a single member of the public spoke up against the project.
LinkedIn officials were quick to highlight a $71 million package of benefits that would come with the project. Most of the sum includes various city-required fees for parks, schools and other impacts. Also highlighted by the company were plans for a "community engagement center," a 3,000-square-foot space that would be available for nonprofits and neighborhood groups to use for meetings.
In particular, City Council members touted a $10 million "pre-investment" made by LinkedIn to the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley ahead of the approval. This pledge drew praise from city officials because it allowed development fees to be quickly funneled toward affordable housing projects without having to wait years for the project to be fully built.
Mayor Lenny Siegel pointed out how cities nationally were falling over each other offering tax subsidies in order to entice Amazon to locate its second headquarters there. He was glad that Mountain View didn't have to resort to those methods.
"I'm so pleased in Mountain View that we can partner with our employers to improve the quality of life. That's what makes Silicon Valley great," he said. "This project is emblematic of that success."
This story contains 640 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.