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City poised for unprecedented office growth

Original post made on Apr 11, 2014

An analysis by the ==I Voice== shows that an explosion of office development is knocking on Mountain View's door, bringing as many as 42,550 new office workers who will be driving on the area's freeways and competing for the city's increasingly expensive and scarce housing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 11, 2014, 9:05 AM

Comments (25)

Posted by dc
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 11, 2014 at 9:44 am

More constructions? Finally, I think all the 101 exit will now be grid locked. I would hate to play favorites, we want everyone in Mtn View to suffer.

Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

Evidently there are two comment threads on this topic, so I will repost my comment in this thread:

~~ Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
1 hour ago ~~

"It's kind of scary — it's like there's a glacier headed in our direction. It's not going to hit us right away but it's almost too late to stop it," said resident Lenny Siegel of the office growth in the pipeline.


I would say it's VERY scary...scary enough for me to have put together what I call my "escape plan" and it's heartbreaking to think about. I have lived here for decades and had planned to spend the rest of my life here...not anymore. Now I am biding my time and getting my ducks in a row, while suffering thru what our city manager, city staff & city council have wrought upon the residents of Mountain View.

Someday, in the dystopian future we are on a trajectory to achieve, the history of how Mountain View was destroyed will be viewed as a cautionary tale. It's a shame that it will take so long to see the error of our present day follies.

Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:32 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

This is what happens when Mountain View grew into a tech center in the last 50 plus years.

Only way to stop it, get people to stop buying, investing or creating tech related stuff.

Posted by Mr Adviceo
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

It is what it is, if you don't like it move out, MV is ground zero for the tech world.

Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

To the author:

Your estimates of the number of new jobs associated with the proposed/under construction office square footage are flawed. You claim that the space that is under construction and proposed could accommodate 42,550 jobs. It appears that you are accounting for 5,534,000 square feet of space in your estimate (834,000 + 1,300,000 + 3,400,000). This produces a ratio of 130 square feet per employee, or 7.69 employees per 1,000 square feet.

Typical industry standards for office space are in the range of 3 to 4 employees per 1,000 square feet. Granted, some tech companies, particularly startups occupying smaller spaces in downtown Palo Alto and Mountain View may go to ratios closer to 5 or 6 per 1,000 square feet, but few reach the 7.69 per 1,000 you are assuming. Look at the 700 East Middlefield project you cite in your own article: 5 per 1,000 square feet. This is on the high end for large, tech-oriented office developments in this area.

I understand that saying "42,000 new workers" in the headline attracts more eyeballs, but it is misleading and not based on fact.
I suggest that you revise this article to reflect actual local conditions. The 5.534 million square feet you're accounting for could accommodate about 22,000 employees at 4 per 1,000 sf, or about 27,700 employees at 5 per 1,000 sf. Either of these would be more accurate and less misleading figures to include in your headline.

[Editor's Note:

Here is the paragraph which explains the calculations in the story.

Office job numbers in this story were calculated using the latest list of projects posted on the city's economic development web page, along with projects not listed: 400,000 square feet in Merlone Geier's phase two at San Antonio shopping center; 150,000 square feet of office at the city's "Moffett Gateway" site; 500,000 square feet of office at the former Mayfield Mall site. It also subtracted the square footage of older office buildings being replaced in some cases. The council's reduction to the Sares Regis project was not included. Employee numbers were calculated at 130 square feet per employee, a number now commonly used, as indicated by City Council members and architect Thomas Yee at the April 8 council meeting.
Email Daniel DeBolt at [email protected]]

Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2014 at 11:01 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

Depends on how much space will be devoted to non employee workspace. Conference Rooms, breakrooms, relaxtion space, common areas and service space.

Mixed use, housing nearby and services..

Transit alternatives must be planned, yes parking is needed but the use of private single.occupant car use must decrease.

If.we can have Uber get us to movies, why can't get people to and from the office.

Posted by Looking for some facts
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

MV Voice: Like many of us here in MV, I look to you guys to enlighten my thoughts on these critical issues impacting our community. OMV Resident has some really good points about the data. Could you please address? Thanks!

[Please see note under OMV post. Editor.]

Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Jac Siegel summarized it clearly:--

"We are building something for people who don't live here, don't work here," said council member Jac Siegel of the project. "If we build enough, it's not going to be Mountain View anymore. We are basically changing the character of our city significantly."

Posted by Daniel DeBolt
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Apr 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Daniel DeBolt is a registered user.

I believe the numbers I have reported are accurate. From what I understand 250 to 300 square feet per employee is no longer typical for offices in Mountain View, especially Google's. As council member Mike Kasperzak said Tuesday night, the range is now often 100 to 150 square feet per employee. This employee per square foot number is really important, and perhaps something our city staff should know by heart. Unfortunately my questions to them about it went unanswered for this story.

Posted by MV Guy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Daniel, are you using the number of employees that physically set foot in the office on a daily basis or the total number of employees registered to a location? That's different and sizing your business for peaks is a sure way to go bankrupt.

Also, why do renters seem to have so much more say than homeowners? It also seems to dominate the discussion when talking about development. I'd much rather have people who make a multi-year/decade commitment to Mountain View than renters who have little at stake in the community. Why can't they build condos, townhouses and single family homes so that people have a reason to stay in the community. Areas full of renters (typically very dense areas) don't often have the greatest school or quality of life, it seems...

Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Garrett83 is a registered user.

When Mountain View became.suburban sprawl most people worked someplace else. People have gotten jobs and lived elsewhere.

Cities, town and villages are no longer self contained. People in Los Altos and The Hills work, shop and do businesses here.

Posted by Daniel DeBolt
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Apr 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Daniel DeBolt is a registered user.

To MVguy, a large majority of the city's residents are renters, including myself. And if you think renters have more say in this, you haven't observed a typical City Council meeting. While homeowners consistently complain about neighborhood traffic and parking issues from the housing development that could alleviate this problem, renters hardly ever speak, presumably because they're busy working long hours or several jobs to pay escalating rents. You also may not have noticed that your City Council has largely been made up of homeowners for many years, likely because one has to be relatively wealthy to justify the time investment for what amounts to a bit more than a $500 a month in pay.

Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Gridlock every morning north Bayshore - there are thousand of vehicles every day funneled into Rengstorff, Shoreline, 101, San Antonio, and the Middlefield/Whisman/Ellis Google campus.
I took a day off from work today to take care of some personal business. The city streets are non-stop traffic, congested and fast-paced. Mountain View used to feel like a slower and more relaxed town in which to travel and shop and take care of business. It felt today as if I was surrounded by people who were speeding and rushing and it was actually pretty nerve-racking.
How can the council even consider increasing the congestion we already are experiencing. In the event of an earthquake there are already at least 12 thousand workers in the north Bayshore area who could potentially be trapped there if 10 overpasses collapsed. Why are we considering adding so many more people commuting to Mountain View when our current infrastructure feels as if we have already reached maximum capacity. With the difficulty in finding parking in downtown which currently exists, how are all these issues going to be improved by adding thousands of more vehicles?

Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm

line in above post should read " trapped there if 101 overpasses collapse."

Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Yes, Mountain View is changing. Hasn't that always been the case? Two hundred years ago it was wilderness, a hundred years ago it turned into orchards, fifty years ago it turned into suburbia, now it's turning into a high-tech nerve center. Trying to halt the change, by not allowing more housing for example, will not work but will make everyone miserable. We should plan for smart growth and anticipate the future needs of our community, instead of trying to stop history.

Posted by Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 11, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Yes, Siegel, Bryant and Abe-Koga will be gone, thank goodness. And their stance on rejecting any housing in North Bayshore has helped create this mess. Imagine how different things would have been if Google had built company housing just 3-4 years ago, thus preventing much of the gridlock in the rest of Mountain View.

Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2014 at 8:49 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

Building of housing near the office is wise sensible planning but if you planning for thousands of office workers living in units. You are going to need services nearby, supermarket and other businesses close by.

Yes they can buy a car, get off work, shop and return home. Creating more car trips and traffic.

Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I have been reviewing the 21015-2023 Housing Element Report, prepared by ESA Associates for the City of Mountain View. This 224 page document must have cost us (the tax payers) a pretty penny!

In perusing this report, I noticed that there are multiple sites which have been identified as "prime" sites for redevelopment which contain one or more single family homes. The report casually says things like, the home was built in the 1930's, or home was built in 1958 etc., then goes on to say that the value of the land is worth more than the structure - someone's residence - and assigns the site a .40 ratio (or similar). This ratio is the formula used to determine if it makes sense to somehow acquire those single family residences. How is the city planning to force homeowners to sell their homes so the homeowner's land can then be bundled with neighboring properties and re-developed for a much higher density usage? Just wondering how this is achieved, if a homeowner is not interested in selling their property/home? Sounds like some potentially, ugly UGLY stuff where homeowners may eventually be forced out of their OWN(ed) homes.

Maybe I was misunderstanding the report, but if not there are some homeowners in Mountain View who should be VERY concerned about what may be in store for them.

Oh, and since when is a home that was built in 1930's or 1950's some sort of negative rap on the home? Homeowners renovate, yes?

Anyway, I urge Mountain View residents to read this report:

Web Link

Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm

We need to make sure we elect City Council members that promise to stop this terrible high density and crowding in Mountain View. If candidates are vague about the issue then don't vote for them.

Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm


I have heard about the need for housing in North Bayshore, but I don't recollect hearing the number of housing units that could be built there along with all of the proposed office space.

Is it 500 units?, 1000 units, 5,000 units, or perhaps 10,000 units?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm

@MV Guy: I'm a bit offended that you seem to be looking down your nose at us renters (I problem, not yours). You "Would rather have people who make a multi-year/decade commitment to Mountain View than renters (What? My 15 years hear isn't enough for you?) who have little at stake in the community". (How do you assume to know what sacrifices I have made in order to keep my child in one school district her entire academic life?). You say "Why can't they build condos, townhouses and single family homes so that people have a reason to stay in the community"? (We have MANY reasons to stay in this community besides condos, townhouses and single family homes. Some of stay because of our job, the schools, our church and our friends. How about INSTEAD we ask "Why can't they build condos, townhomes and single family homes that renters can afford to make the transition to ownership in Mountain View?")

You say that "Areas full of renters - typically very dense areas - don't often have the greatest school or quality of life, it seems...(I'm sorry MV Guy, your statement doesn't hold water, because at the moment, there are more rental units being built in this city than there are single family homes, condos or townhomes. And our City Council seems to feel our quality of life is just peachy. I can't wait until my kid graduates this year so that I can slim down to one job, NOT FOUR and buy a home somewhere where my mortgage is half of what it costs to rent here. I thought I'd live here forever, but it just is NOT possible).

Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 15, 2014 at 11:38 pm

@MVResident67 - Thanks for posting that document. As you said, every MV resident should read it.

I read through it, and don't see any reason to be immediately concerned about eminent domain seizures. However, the report is appalling in its assumption that MV absolutely must meet ABAG development goals, with no consideration of the effect on livability.

The report is appalling also in its suggestion that the City of MV should sell off city-owned property to developers in order to meet these goals, including downtown parking lots and including the land leased to the Community School of Music and Arts.

It's appalling also in the way it minimizes the effect of its recommended development on infrastructure - Road use and traffic congestion is excluded from consideration as "infrastructure."

And it is appalling in its dismissal of "NIMBY" concerns about development. Yes, the report used this term, up front. Disgusting, really.

Everyone should read it. here's the link: Web Link

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

Lets see here, lots of young people coming here from other places needing places to live, thus the rental housing. Not everyone wants to buy a home, even if they can buy, not enough to go around. Some of these renters pay a high price to avoid the commute, they want to spend life away from the car.

Company housing sounds like a good idea but people move from job to job, company to company, part of the valley.

Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

Be ready to get rolled over by big money making more money. That's the real goal. Housing is the excuse. Yes, we need more, like North of 101 + supermarket & other support services there that folks could ride a bike to, or a golf cart. Nice to live near work. You don't have the worry of being stuck in traffic and arriving late, etc.

But do not build housing along El Camino where the quality of life stinks (literally, thereby making HVAC necessary, which is not green) and at the expense of people who have worked their whole lives to make their properties a place they want to live forever, that will become of less value due to zoning changes that made them non-conforming and very much as risk and unable to be modified in any way, as they will then no longer be grandfathered in. This is loss of property rights, and that is the loss of freedom, pursuit of happiness, and democracy. Bag ABAG...

Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

First, we need an objective determination of how much housing can be built in Mountain View and still maintain a high Quality of Life.

That means no 5 to 8 story apartments along El Camino Real. Three stories are sufficient.

That means no 15 story condos over the railroad station, which Rod Dirdon suggests.

That means rezoning office development to housing.

That means some housing in North Bayshore,

Then, after we need an objective determination of how much housing can be built in Mountain View and still maintain a high Quality of Life, we can determine how many jobs to add.

Lenny Siegel has suggested 1 new job for each new housing unit. Personally, I would prefer 2 new jobs for each new housing unit.

In either case, you won’t see 30,000 new jobs and 30,000 new apartments.

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