Mountain View’s downtown is a Silicon Valley hot-spot, brimming with some of the best restaurants, cafes and merchants in the Bay Area. There are many developers who would love to get in on the economic action and a number of them have contacted the city inquiring about whether parking lots adjacent to downtown might be up for grabs.
Apparently, these unsolicited inquiries have started the wheels turning during recent City Council meetings, where studies are being initiated to determine whether any or all of the four city-owned lots should be placed on the market. In May 2014, Mountain View was in talks with Virgin Hotels, owned by none other than billionaire business mogel, Richard Branson, regarding one of these lots. In the end, Mountain View opted not to proceed with the proposed plan and talks ceased. Despite this, the current robust economy makes it worthwhile to once again consider the options available for these highly desirable parcels of land.
The parking lots in question are all in close proximity to Mountain View’s bustling CalTrain station. Totalling just shy of 4.5 acres, the four lots developers are clambering for include:
- Lot 4, a 1.1-acre parking lots at Hope Street and West Evelyn Avenue
- Lot 8, a .65-acre parking lot next to Lot 4 and close to the Transit Center
- Lot 11, 1.2-acres of parking at Franklin and Villa Streets
- Lot 12, 1.46-acres of parking at Bryan and California Streets
Potential uses for these parcels include residential, retail, office and entertainment in the form of theaters. Each lot would be zoned individually.
Should the city choose to explore the development of some or all of this land, odds are they would pursue ground-leasing the sites, a long-term lease of land that allows the construction of buildings or other improvements while the land itself still belongs to the city. This is one of Mountain View’s preferred methods of securing long-term cash flow, as is evidenced by the Google campus built on city-owned, ground-leased land.
City staff is in favor of the City Council moving forward with soliciting interest for Lots 4 and 8 as a package deal with the primary use being a hotel with potential secondary uses. They also are of the mind that Lot 11 should be opened up to developers for market-rate or affordable housing. How the City Council reacts still remains to be seen.
Mountain View offers a strategic location in Silicon Valley and many top high-tech companies are headquartered within its boundaries. More and more people are moving to Mountain View, both to be close to their place of work as well as to take advantage of all the city has to offer, including wonderful neighborhoods, top schools and a lively, vibrant city center.
All of these factors contribute to the on-going, intense interest from developers, who see Mountain View as ‘the’ place to be. Odds are that downtown Mountain View will experience some fashion of a growth spurt in the very near future.