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San Antonio center near completion

Original post made on Jul 20, 2017

It took nearly half a decade, but a massive new office campus at the San Antonio Shopping Center is almost complete. The question is: Who's going to be moving in?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 20, 2017, 12:59 PM

Comments (58)

Posted by Me
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm

So tired of the growth in MV. Can't wait to retire and sell out.


Posted by Movie theater
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 20, 2017 at 3:39 pm

When does the movie theater open? From the outside it looks pretty close to complete. I'm excited to be able to go there -- will be a good thing for teens who lack activities that they can walk to.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 20, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Milk Pail "pales" in comparison with all the new buildings surrounding it. It wasn't so bad looking as a renovated drive through milk and dairy store, when it was near the old Sears and all the stores in the center. But now with six more updated stores/markets selling milk and dairy in the same area along with increased traffic, it hardly makes the Milk Pail worth a special trip.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2017 at 6:54 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Amelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2017 at 12:18 am

I live seeing the changes. Mountain View is looking better and better. If change is difficult for you, this is probably the last place you should be.


Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2017 at 9:17 am

YAY! Just what we needed! MORE OFFICES! I seem to remember something about a BALANCED Mountain View and more HOUSING, but we really need the office space! Who cares if rents go up another 100% in the next five years? As long as we have "change" and Mountain View looks "better and better", it's all good!



Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Posted by Everything is going to be alright
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2017 at 9:45 am




Mountain View has rent control now, so everyone can breathe easy, and office construction can continue to proliferate as before, unchecked.

Not a problem.


Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 21, 2017 at 10:25 am

@Everything - especially since rent control applies to new buildings and new tenants, right?


Posted by No more soul
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Lived in the bay area my whole life. 25 years in South San Jose, 25 years in Mountain View. I remember when MV was a quiet, sleepy, lil place with a charm and a soul. I have an old map that illustrated all the local businesses (remember those cartoony looking things?), the "mom & pops" and now looking at what's around today, it's mostly offices, bloated new apartments and some restaurants.

I get it... Progress. Change. It's inevitable. But those that say "well if you don't like it leave...". Really? I guess my childish retort is "I was here first, I didn't ask for this".

I put my roots down long ago. Grew my "tree". Now I'm being TOLD just to uproot and go. Or rather, outsiders swinging their ax taking off chunks. Sure, seems fair.

Is my house worth millions? Sure, when I "cash out". But what's that got to do with the quality of life now? The growth is insane but the infrastructure hasn't changed. We're stacking people now, building up. Not a single road has changed or been added. I live in a neighborhood up against the corner of shoreline and 101. There are literally only 2 ways out. In the morning from 8 to 11 we're completely locked in by Google traffic. A year ago, Google bought some near by buildings. No announcement, residents weren't advised... Construction clogged the entire street, jack hammers all day long, back yards covered in dust. Those who love the change aren't living next door to it I bet (Amelia?).

Growth, progress, change. We're supposed to look at the big picture, the horizon.... Wait and see right? It's all for the better. But it's at the expense of those that already had the better.

New and shiny is great. But so is old and "as is".

Guess us dinosaurs should just wait to die. Nobody wants us around anymore.

Enjoy your robot pizza y'all. Peace.


Posted by Everything is going to be alright
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm


I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have called Mountain View home for 25 years now. I had always planned to spend the rest of my days here, but now I can't wait until I can get the heck out of here. I have no doubt that some commenter will chime in (sarcastically) about how sad they feel for me cashing out with "a million or more" in home appreciation, which is telling of those types of commenters really, because I would HAPPILY give back the last decades worth of my home's "Zillow value" if it meant we could ALL get back the quality of life we had here just ten short years ago.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones, because I have a choice, and I am choosing to leave for a better quality of life...I feel for those who are being forced out because of economic reasons resulting from the massive jobs to housing imbalance...created by our city leaders (and our neighboring cities) continuing to allow corporations to massively expand their footprints in our communities, all the while knowing that for every 10 new jobs created, there is/has been barely one new unit of housing being created, and roads and other infrastructure is nowhere near being able to support the influx of workers coming into our city daily.

The answer isn't simply to build more housing, the answer is to STOP allowing the ridiculous amount of corporate expansion that has been like a cancer, eating away at the quality of life upon our community.

It will be interesting no to see what this community looks like in 15 years, I am fearful there will only be two types of residents left here...the very wealthy and those who are able to survive here on subsidies, and that would be a tragedy.

Good luck.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm

So what happens with Google, Apple and Linked-In decide to move to a better location and leave all the office space and undesirable housing units vacant and abandoned? Hard to believe of course, but then most city council members in our valley told us shopping malls were the way of the future and never thought their malls, like Mayfield Mall, Sunnyvale Town Center and Vallco would ever go away...well, at least not while they were in office.

And not that long ago, we didn't have to drive to Hillsdale or South San Jose just to shop at Sears or Penney's.


Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 21, 2017 at 5:43 pm

@Everything -

"like a cancer"

That's _exactly_ the phrase that's been running through my head. Our city councils have done this to us. Used to be our cities were there for the residents, the community members. City council members were community members and had the same interests as the rest of the citizens - parks and open spaces, community events, programs for children and other things that contribute to quality of life for everyone. Then they went crazy and somehow decided that allowing unlimited (tech) office expansion was the best thing for the city, or perhaps just the best thing for their own property value.


Posted by Sylvia Martin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

What an elephant. Anyone else notice how the vegitation is dying. Especially the trees. My guess is all those projects draining ground water and oops. They ruined the sky line. I too shall leave the bay area.


Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 21, 2017 at 6:46 pm

We might be able to slow all the construction and overbuilding in our town if we elect more reasonable City Council members


Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 21, 2017 at 11:04 pm

So they built a huge, ugly office building and they don't even have a tenant to occupy it? Classic.

Sounds like one of those stupid baseball movies with Kevin Costner...


Posted by Hope
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jul 22, 2017 at 11:16 am

Traffic is already bad, can't imagine how much worse it will be when the cars at the theaters and offices all try to leave at once! Teenagers walk??


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 11:47 am

The jobs to housing imbalance has been directly caused by all of the road blocks thrown up against building new housing in the area. All of the complaints about new complexes being too tall, too dense for the area, out of character, etc etc. If only the rich will be able to afford to live in Mountain View it will be because a small but vocal cadre of homeowners made it impossible for anyone else to afford to live here.

Tech jobs are a GOOD thing. You might not think so if you're retired and don't make a wage anymore, but tech jobs are one of the last few good careers available that pay well and have good perks. You should be wanting these jobs so your progeny has a strong economy to go into. You should be expanding infrastructure to accommodate the growth. You should NOT be pulling up the ladder after you climbed it.


Posted by Where?
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Yimby...

No one said jobs were bad. Making money is not a bad thing. No one is complaining about that.

Look at the most "liked" comment on this board...."tired of the growth".

Pull up a map. Look at the size of MV and what's available. You said "expand infastructue"...

WHERE?!

Even the tech job king around here, Google, sees that MV is maxed out and are expanding to San Jose.


Posted by Everything is going to be alright
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm


Let's examine Facebook's current plan to add "1.75 million square feet of office space, spread across nine office buildings"
If we assume the new campus will have a similar density to Facebook's existing facilities, (currently 1.8 million square feet of office space housing 9350 employees) the new plan will provide space for (1,750,000 / 192.5) = 9090 new employees.

The plan also calls for "1,500 rental apartments" . Of note, the housing portion is due to be completed years after the office portion is completed.

This represents an office-to-housing ratio of (9090 / 1500) = 6.06 new employees per housing unit. Even if we assume the employees double up as roommates in every one of these new apartments, the project will still generate (9090 - (2 * 1500)) = 6090 new commuters who will have to find housing elsewhere.

So, even though this (Facebook) office development proposal includes apartments in an attempt to mitigate the housing shortage and mollify critics, the project in fact makes the shortage *worse* by adding many, many more jobs than houses...which is exactly what is happening every time cities add hundreds of thousands - or millions - of square feet of office space, when there is not available housing or new housing in place to support the additional thousands and thousands of employees who will now be flooding into those cities to work every day.

The result will be housing prices continuing to spike and the continued displacement of many of those who no longer can afford the skyrocketing housing costs and corresponding spike in all associated cost of living expenses. I'm not necessarily referring to retired folks on fixed incomes, but moreso the working class people who are barely hanging on -- working two or maybe three jobs to try to keep pace with the soaring cost of living, created exactly by the unchecked growth of several large tech companies in our communities...while blithely saying, we are doing our part because we are going to add 1,500 hundred units of housing, yet conveniently forgetting to add the second half of the sentence...we're going to be adding nearly 9,100 employees.





Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

If only we had the technology to build tall buildings and infrastructure to support a lot of people living in one place. It's just a shame that humans have only figured out how to build single-family homes and car-centered infrastructure.


Posted by Everything is going to be alright
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 3:18 pm

"If only we had the technology to build tall buildings and infrastructure to support a lot of people living in one place. It's just a shame that humans have only figured out how to build single-family homes and car-centered infrastructure."

---

Don't be coy.

The amount of new construction of detached single family homes is minuscule compared to the amount of new construction of multi-unit (and multi-story) dwellings of some sort -- town homes, condos, apartments, etc. You would be hard pressed to see developers creating multiple new neighborhoods of R1 zoned homes on modest 5,000 square foot lots. One thing that HAS happened in R1 zoned neighborhoods is the relaxation of the ADU ordinances in hopes of encouraging people to add additional units - infill - in existing R1 zoned neighborhoods...which is interesting because imho, since the city is refusing to collect taxes on those who operate Airbnb units...then relaxing the ADU ordinances seems to also encourage tax free Airbnb proliferation, which in turn does nothing to help the housing crunch, just seems to take potential rental properties off the market.

You can continue to sit and spin all you want, but the facts speak loud and clear....

The unchecked growth of large tech companies within our city (and other nearby cities) over the last several years (let's say eight years) has resulted in a massive jobs to housing imbalance as well as a horrible strain on infrastructure, spiked the cost of housing as well as the cost of living, and forced long time residents from their homes and communities - all the while deteriorating the daily quality of life, in numerous ways for everyone.

Evidently, Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.



Posted by Huh?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm

So you want us to build up? Skyscrapers? The beginnings of New York West? Those living inside those tall buildings have to come down to the ground and move around at some point. Where's that part of the infrastructure? The roads, transit, power, sewage etc etc etc? Maybe we'll build those on top of those buildings....and so on and so on.

After we use that "technology" to build the tall buildings I guess we can use it to build the double decker roads or maybe Mr. Tesla can bore his tunnels.

Why can't there be a ceiling/cap? Why build build build, more more more? At some point we have to stop building on top of the same spot.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

The only multi-story housing that I see are small little pockets here and there of dinky 4 story complexes. We need 10 stories minimum, close to light rail and downtown. Castro St needs to be upzoned. I'm not being coy at all, let me be point blank: people like YOU who fight against new housing have caused the housing crisis. People like YOU who misuse the advantage Prop 13 gave you not be priced out of your home, and then turned it on the rest of us by blocking housing and causing prices to explode, have caused the housing crisis. People like YOU are why California is the worst state when it comes to new home ownership by buyers under 35. This is a political problem, not a resource problem. The orchards made way for housing so you guys could have places to live, but now that you have yours, suddenly the single-stories shouldn't make way for towers so that others can also have theirs. Your generation will be remembered as the one that couldn't pull the ladder up fast enough.


Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 22, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Just look at us. The tech execs and investors with their 8-figure annual incomes have all of us wrapped around their little finger. They make out like bandits at the expense of regular folks who just want to live their lives and - just look at these threads - they're getting us to turn against each other instead of working together on solutions that work for, if you will, the 99%. Folks who have been around and are established in their careers are not out to get the young ones and steal opportunity from them. Just the opposite. Most of us want the next generation to have great opportunities and thrive. Tech is exploiting us while we're not looking. All they care about is profit. They give no regard whatsoever to people or community. Instead of going at each other, we ought to be fighting the real villain. This country is plenty big enough for everyone to have choices regarding where they live. There's no reason we can't have both ultra-dense cities like YIMBY says he likes, as well as small and medium-sized towns like long-time Mountain View residents have chosen for themselves. And there's absolutely no reason that tech jobs should be the last remaining half-way decent jobs, nor that all of the decent-paying jobs should be concentrated in one small area. But they have us distracted quarreling with each other while they're off crafting plans to squeeze everyone even more.


Posted by Everything is going to be alright
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 5:26 pm



Why should residents and community members welcome the tech giants who are literally destroying the fabric of the communities they inhabit? Is the cost of living suddenly going to get better if there are dozens of ten story towers along Castro Street? Will the small businesses who have been here for years and are now losing their leases left and right, suddenly going to find new homes within the city? Are the residents who have already been displaced going to be able to come back and afford to live here once again?

Let's be clear about something...look at tech expansion in the valley and look at Zillow prices, you should see a direct the correlation. It has very little to do with your pet peeve, prop 13, and everything to do with massive tech corporate expansion driving up the need for housing. Again, that's on the tech corporations choosing to massively expand their footprints here - in relatively small communities hemmed in by water (and protected baylands) on one side and mountains and vast swaths of protected open space on the other side.

The tech corporations knew exactly what they were doing as they were expanding...tearing apart the fabric of the communities they were expanding in. It's stupifying that there are people out there that are angry with residents of these communities, who are actually being forced from their residences because they can no longer afford to live in the area - as a direct result of what the massive tech expansion has done to the community and surrounding area in general.

Talk about gall.

Your assumptions about "my generation" would be off the mark, btw, as are many of your assumptions.




Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Everything is going to be alright
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 5:57 pm


[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2017 at 5:59 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Tired of Yimby
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2017 at 10:23 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 12:48 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by ZUMBA
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2017 at 1:06 am

Well, to me this just highlights the fickle nature of plans. You can bet Merlone G. got a nice fee to break the contract for Linked In/Microsoft to occupy their 400,000 sq feet of speculatively built space. If it had been a better contract, they'd be the ones needing to sublease it. People claiming the imbalance is simple and the only problem is homeowners not wanting to spoil their backyard views are ill informed. The whole thing could collapse into a heap of empty buildings. The thing is it has happened before, over and over again, in the not too distant past.

When the only housing being built has the units that are targeted to rent for $8000 or more for a 2 bedroom apartment of 900 sq feet, well, it's not going to help to talk of spoiling peoples' views. You'd have to do something to bring down the price of land below $10 Million per acre (or below $15 Million for a place near San Antonio like Merlone G. made the home of its project).

So the first hint of a lessening of the housing shortage will be a stop in all the new office space due to its own economic non viability. That in turn will lower land prices and then apartment construction could be done more easily. However, we have to contend with the fact that the interest rates have been 3% for mortgages and less than 1% for federal funds. So when it becomes feasible to build housing, the interest rates will be a problem. Something is going to have to finance these housing units, or they won't be built.

Oh, and what we're talking about is what is known as a "see-through" because the office building will completely lack an interior until a definite tenant materializes to make the plans for the interior construction. It will be interesting to see how that happens. If we're lucky it won't actually happen. Crossing my fingers.

Yeah, it's all about the views out the back window. NOT.


Posted by ZUMBA
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2017 at 1:12 am

To be clear, the issue is that RESIDENTIAL land zoned for single family residences only is going for $10 Million per acre. If you waive your wand and void all zoning rules, you'd still need to see the land fall in value to make residential construction feasible. This land also has transportation issues where it is not near CalTrain, BART, freeways even, or reliable bus service. Its use depends on the passenger auto currently, and you need to contemplate better infrastructure to make a large apartment building viable. You might get duplexes or something like that, but man, those would rent for a LOT. Imagine brand new duplex or graden condominium townhouse construction in areas near SFR's. It would command quite a price. Someone could make a lot of MONEY because you can't expect to see this happening on a widespread basis even with your magic wand vaporizing the zoning (and planning) foundation.

Oh yea, it's all about the backyard views.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 10:28 am

The units in any brand new duplex would cost a lot, but that's not necessarily the point. Housing is expensive everywhere because of massive demand for what little available supply there is. Build a few massive new duplexes full of "luxury" apartments, and even if they're pricey to rent, it still takes pressure off of other units and spreads demand out. Eventually the spare bedrooms in houses start going under $1500 a month because there are enough available apartments to make that a more attractive option.


Posted by Rationality
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Housing is expensive everywhere because the cost of new housing is expensive. Who's going to invest in added housing on the promise of DIMINISHING rents? The capital has to have a prospect of preserving the principal and a decent rate of return. It has to compare with other investments and inflation in the rate of return. If you're going to wish for someone to come along and give away billions to provide free housing, then it has nothing to do with zoning that this doesn't happen and isn't going to. You're hoping to sucker investment into something which will result in bankruptcy and a sale of assets at a loss. Then maybe the new buyer would lower the rents. In that environment then any additional construction is going to FREEZE. Creating a glut is not the object of any investor in the first place. This is the flaw of these inexperienced 20 somethings that think they know the cause of the housing crisis. It's just because no one has thought to build more.... because of back yard view resistance from potential neighbors. They don't see that market forces create and maintain the shortage through their natural course having little to do with zoning. Looser zoning would result in 0.5% more profit for the investor, not reduced rental costs.


Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

"Rationality" wrote: "This is the flaw of these inexperienced 20 somethings that think they know the cause of the housing crisis. . . They don't see that market forces create and maintain the shortage. . ."

Nor do the ones who came here for newly created jobs ever seem to grasp their own major role in creating the very situation they complain so bitterly about.


Posted by Tired of YIMBY
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 23, 2017 at 2:18 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm

"Housing is expensive everywhere because the cost of new housing is expensive"

New housing is generally going to always be expensive because it's new. But that's not specifically the cause of why all housing in the Bay Area is expensive currently. Every spare nook and cranny in every freestanding structure is expensive because demand for housing at all income levels is higher than the available supply, and by a lot. You need to start building more supply to satiate demand, and then prices can level out as every spare room no longer gets 100 applications the minute the ad goes up.

Now, solving the housing crisis doesn't mean building housing that is specifically priced at middle-income levels, because the current demand for housing means that no such thing exists, high-earners will bid for anything and everything even if it's intended for low-income occupants.

Building new housing today, even if it's considered expensive and luxury, is tomorrow's middle-income housing as even newer housing is built and wear and tear sets in with the current housing.

And to be clear, I was born and raised here. I'm not a transplant here for newly created tech jobs. Is the demand for housing caused in part by tech jobs? Totally, but a thriving high-tech economy is a great thing (to anyone here who hasn't retired yet at least) and building new homes to satiate the demand from it so we can continue to be an innovative high-tech hub shouldn't be such a hassle. People benefitting from the subsidies that Prop 13 provides them shouldn't turn around and use that advantage to strangle the economy and housing market for the rest of us, otherwise we should take it away and let you get hit in the wallet by the housing crunch like the rest of us.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 2:35 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Tired of YIMBY
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Sigh.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 4:36 pm

That makes two of us.


Posted by No YIMBY
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2017 at 8:16 pm

The YIMBY on here might not represent the group lobbying to support Wiener's bill. Wiener is a moron for associating himself with them. He's just looking to make headlines to further his political ambitions. You don't have to believe to use them to political advantage. Look at the Donald.

However, the basic idea is the same, and the YIMBY's do miss the point. Take that absurd statement that shortage is necessary to fuel rising real estate values. It's just not precise enough. Location Location Location has always been the mantra of real estate investment. It doesn't matter whether there is new construction to excess or not. Just the POTENTIAL of development fuels rising land values. The apartment rents aren't high because of shortage. They are high because there are speculators trading the existing housing and paying more and more in monthly mortgages for run down old stock. There could never have been a growth rate in housing units which would keep up with this crazy expansion by Google, Facebook and Apple. No way no how. They are the evil triumvirate causing all the malignant growth. If they didn't have monopolies on their side, they would not be able to create this cancer. Feeding the nutritional needs of the cancer with housing is not the answer. That will just remove an important check that has somewhat limited them in the past.

Consider that a lot of job growth has been handled by increasing the number of residents per unit of housing. Kids living with older parents into their 40's. Groups renting housing and sharing. Actually, this is cheaper than building more housing. Yet another rising why the apartment growth has been somewhat slow to follow the job growth. Wary investors realize that they can't make a profit without sufficient demand, and they know that the economy can collapse and eliminate jobs from monopolies too.


Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm

@Tired -

"Anke, I believe you've hit on something. Just wish there was a way for all of us to move forward and effect change. Change that helps everyone with common sense and balance. I'm just afraid Corporate and City interests have too much power and/or influence."

Your last sentence is exactly what Bernie Sanders meant when he kept going on about getting money out of politics. We see it at all levels - national down to our little city. The wealthy people and corporations use their vast wealth to achieve public policies that make them even wealthier and leave the rest of us ever more squeezed. They lobby for tax cuts and loopholes that shift funds away from the public and into their pockets, which they then use for more lobbying and political donations, and so the vicious cycle continues. Talk about theft!

(One of many, many examples - remember back when our generation was heading off to college? UC Berkeley (or any other UC or USC campus) was trivially easy to get into. All you needed were the academic qualifications and you could simply sign up. Tuition was a token amount, and there was plenty of space in the dorms. Compare that with the mess we have now, after several decades of public money shifting into a few private hands.)

At the city level, for small cities in particular, it seems to me that the problem starts with the fact that city council members receive a token stipend, but the job is de fact unpaid and very time consuming, putting it out of reach of the people who are hurt the most by decisions that are about private money and not community.


@Everything -
"Is the cost of living suddenly going to get better if there are dozens of ten story towers along Castro Street?"

You said it. The flaw with the "build more housing" argument is that it (naively?) assumes that adding housing units will decrease the residents to dwellings ratio, thus bringing down housing costs. But the big tech companies have both a bottomless desire to expand, and a bottomless supply of workers to bring in to fill in their campuses. We could tear out every single-family house in Mountain View and fill the space with ten (or more) story towers and tech will just bring in even more people than they already are.

Of course the execs won't live in the ant farms themselves. They'll sprawl out to where it's nice and quiet and they have acres and acres of private property. See the article in today's Chronicle about Walden Monterey. (I'm linking it, but it's only in the paid section of the Chron's website.)

Web Link


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 8:50 pm

So the hypothesis you guys are going to run with now is that supply and demand don't apply to the housing market? That the Bay Area will just magically never, ever even have slowed housing cost increases, let alone falling costs if we built a lot of new housing, because infinite speculation and tech hiring will never allow for it? How convenient that this would then mean that building any new housing whatsoever would never have any affect at all! When do you guys plan on submitting your economic theories to the Nobel committee?


Posted by No YIMBY
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2017 at 9:03 pm

If supply and demand was as pure a concept as you postulate, then there would be no housing shortage. Your mistake is thinking that somehow city regulations are the only thing making it impure. City regulations were easily gotten around by Google seeking to inflict its growth on Mountain View. Why would not the same methods apply to housing? The answer is the funding source. Housing is slower to be built because it is not well funded. Your argument that rents will fall just makes finding funding to create house more and more difficult.

So you are actually the one admitting that supply and demand don't apply to housing, but investors are more interested in funding office complexes with the promise of a lease to Linked In or Google. No one PROMISES to occupy housing. It's a leap of faith on the part of the investor. Still, notice that a lot of new housing is being built. A good test will be if that is fully occupied. Investors have an interest in getting the maximum rents, and a small vacancy rate is a tool they use to do so. They can't increase rates as much if there is no turnover.

To get you out of your parent's garage apartment, and shared bathroom, they have to offer you something you can afford for only a modest increment over your current cost. They no there is a limit to how many units will be occupied so long as that extra cost remains modest.

So it's an elastic demand because you have the option of the garage.


Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Any word of improved public transit to this new phase? I won't call it completed because the area at the old Safeway is still derelict as well as the opposite side of the San Antonio, so construction trucks and traffic will still be in the area.

Without more transit options, is there enough parking for movie theater, offices, restaurants and residences?

No on both counts? I thought so.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Ah, so we're going to ignore the numerous instances throughout the Bay Area of groups of homeowners actively fighting and stalling new housing developments, fighting against upzoning (and actively downzoning in some instances), and then pretend that residential development and commercial development face the same hurdles? Yeah, there's just no funding for Bay Area housing. No one's interested in building new housing around here at all.


Posted by Caltrain
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2017 at 8:41 am

Will Caltrain adjust their schedule when these buildings begin to fill? San Antonio is hardly usable during commute hours, but with electrified Caltrain maybe they can absorb more stops here.


Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 24, 2017 at 8:48 am

Adding to @No YIMBY's comments,

" investors are more interested in funding office complexes with the promise of a lease to Linked In or Google. "

And in the case of the big tech companies, it's even more fundamental than that. Google has for years now been buying up every single square foot of Mountain View land they can get their hands on. So in addition to the huge profits from selling our personal information to advertisers, they're building equity as land owners. And of course, similar goes for other big tech companies.

These companies, or rather the execs and investors, are raking in huge profits at our expense. It's not supposed to work this way. When employers add jobs it's supposed to bring prosperity to the region. But instead it's bringing blight - locals, both community members and local shops and businesses, are being pushed out while our young people (like YIMBY), the next generation, can't even get started.

In addition to the very good points @No makes about developer interests, adding housing here doesn't bring down cost because demand is nearly infinite. There's no end in sight to the growth of the big tech companies, and to the number of people from all across the country and from abroad that they hire and bring here. Where things typically stabilize in situations like this is when development reaches physical constraints - every buildable patch of land is filled with buildings as tall as humans know how to build. Price then increases until only the very wealthiest can afford it, at which point demand and supply more or less equalize. For examples see Manhattan or Tokyo.

YIMBY, we are not out to get you. Your generation includes our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and their friends and peers. We want them to thrive and with them their whole generation.



Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 24, 2017 at 8:52 am

@Caltrain, that would be the idea. Electrified trains (generally) have a higher people-per-hour capacity. However, before that happens, we'll first have to endure several years of Caltrain construction.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2017 at 8:57 am

@Anke

Build housing before you declare the endeavor impossible. Right now your theories of "infinite demand" hold no factual basis in reality.


Posted by Development
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Oh, yes, there is more development in the works. The old Safeway site along with the adjacent Old Mill Office Center is slated to be 8 acres turned into housing, 640 limits. A long time ago the Crossings was also a shopping center like the old Safeway but it got turned into housing. The new development will still have some retail areas and it will also replace the strip mall along San Antonio.

Over on the Del Medio side of San Antonio another huge housing project is in the works, replacing a hotel and a restaurant. 100's of units of housing there.

Now about these office towers. Remember when the city asked the developer to try to build tall apartments instead, since the area was zone for height? The developer said it was not economically feasible to do this so stuck with the office towers that Linked In backed out of using. There's also a very tall hotel as part of this development. It will be interesting to see how much traffic and usage the hotel sees in the area. That too could have been housing. The decision was not because of city zoning, but because the developer wanted to make more money.

There's a large parking garage as part of the project so there will be plenty of added cars in the area.


Posted by Enjoy the hell
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2017 at 1:42 pm

It's been done for me for a while. This is the part of town I avoid at all costs...won't even turn into the parking lot. Ulch.


Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2017 at 1:56 pm

The office space will be leased soon enough so give it time.


Posted by An idea
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Why doesn't the city lease some of the office space and turn it into a homeless shelter. Think outside of the box.


Posted by Planet Cancer
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 24, 2017 at 4:38 pm

If we don't want growth and change, we need to stop having babies.


Posted by Coming soon
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm

Well driving around MV I've seen several new housing/apt. developments opening or about to open along El Camino and some other back channels. I don't have official numbers but I'm assuming each has 300+ units per, so possibly 1000-2000 opening soon.

Sunnyvale/MV border has a bunch too, real close to ribbon cutting.

So I guess we'll see yimby's trickle down effect shortly.




Posted by Dot
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2017 at 11:42 pm

YIMBY is wrong with so many of their facts they must just be Trolling.

They talk about "saturating the market with new housing" as some kind of solution. It is not. Rents in a rising economy go up. New York, Los Angeles, and Daly City have your skyscrapers -- those didn't bring down rents -- they just brought more units to a rising (in terms of price and demand) market.

Every time a new Prometheus "luxury" apartment complex opens in downtown Mountain View, the 30+ year old complex I live in raises rents to match new "neighborhood market rates" that include Prometheus' asking prices.

The differences between "luxury" facilities offered by Prometheus and my complex's "beat up" offerings are not taken into account.

As much as these increases weigh on my wallet, I can't fault the apartment complex for wanting to maximizing their revenue -- that's their business. Vacated apartments in our complex don't sit idle at these high-altitude price points... They get rented quickly. The demand is out there.


Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 25, 2017 at 12:38 am

@Dot, LA is a particularly interesting and relevant example because their rents are now about 30% lower than ours. Why? Because Big Tech has stolen the show from Hollywood, so to speak. The flow of people into the Bay Area is higher than to SoCal, and you even see SoCal expats moving here for tech jobs.


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