Google proposes new village next to Mountain View tech hubs

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MOUNTAIN VIEW — Google aims to create a new Mountain View neighborhood of homes, offices, stores, and parks, a project that would dramatically resculpt a large area now dominated by old tech buildings and huge parking lots, the search giant said.

Offices, homes, activity hubs, retail, amenity and event centers, and open spaces would be the primary features of Google’s proposed Middlefield Park neighborhood — a marked departure from the small research and office buildings, huge parking lots, no housing, and virtually non-existent open spaces.

Mountain View-based Google wants to add well over 1,600 homes to an area near the interchange of East Middlefield Road and State Route 237.

“I love it. I’m crazy about this proposal. This is terrific,” said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a non-profit think tank.

Middlefield Park looks like an excellent proposal, Hancock said, for at least two reasons.

“The first reason is you have a tech company creating housing, so thank you Google,” Hancock said. “Google is not under any mandate to create housing. Google’s shareholders don’t demand it. Yet here they are, creating housing.”

Hancock’s second reason for liking the project’s concept is that it differs from the traditional major developments of decades past that still dominate Silicon Valley: Low-rise office and research buildings that are distinctly separate from the neighborhoods around them.

“This project doesn’t create a bubble that is sealed off from the outside world,” Hancock said. “It isn’t hermetically sealed. This is the new model for development. Google is offering the freshest, newest thinking and this project certainly deserves a chance, especially in Silicon Valley.”

Google’s Middlefield Park plan would consist of 1.28 million to 1.33 million square feet of office space, 1,675 to 1,850 residential units, 30,000 square feet of active uses and retail sites, 20,000 square feet of civic, event, and amenities spaces, and 12 acres of open space.

“We really see this proposal as taking another step forward with our housing commitment, and we look forward to working with the City and community on next steps,” said Michael Tymoff, Google’s Mountain View development director.

One part of Google’s proposal envisions a vast reimagining of the existing area as a new neighborhood.

At present, the sites where the development will occur is mostly surface parking. About 51 percent of the existing site is devoted to parking, 42 percent is covered by offices, and 7 percent is open space. Currently, no housing exists on the site.

Google’s development proposal would consist of 37 percent open space, 30 percent office space, 24 percent residential, 6 percent parking, 2 percent retail, and 1 percent civic uses.

The tech titan is teaming up with Australia-based Lendlease, a developer with a global scope.

“We are eager to move forward in collaboration with Google, delivering much-needed housing in the Bay Area,” said Andrew Chappell, Lendlease project director. “We are confident that we can turn the Middlefield Park master plan into a reality.”

Lendlease says its projects include the development of urban “precincts” and retail “precincts,” along with hospitals, universities, and stadiums.

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