Amid Council Chamber Drama, Jay Paul Receives Approval to Proceed with 1.6MM SQ FT Development in Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale Jay Paul Google Juniper Moffett Towers II Pat Meyering Mayor Glenn Hendricks Jim Davis Silicon Valley DES Architects and Engineers
Jay Paul's Moffett Park II development designed by DES Architects and Engineers
Jay Paul's Moffett Park II development designed by DES Architects
Jay Paul’s Moffett Park II development designed by DES Architects and Engineers

If the start of the Sunnyvale city council meeting on Tuesday is any indication of how this project may advance through the city approval process, it will certainly not disappoint anyone looking for some development drama. Mayor Glenn Hendricks asked council member Pat Meyering to recuse himself from the discussion at the very beginning of the meeting. In a statement, the mayor maintained that council member Meyering’s letter to the editor published in a local paper appeared to show his opposition to the project and could support a court finding that it demonstrated bias against the development. The mayor, who had consultated the city attorney prior to the event, asked Meyering to recuse himself from a portion of the vote. Meyering refused, alleging that this was a political maneuver whose sole purpose was to influence the next election.

[contextly_sidebar id=”53AZJYRddfZluJjG38OK6eEPDwqtwQzv”]“A number of people believe that this issue was not publicized, so we made and effort to publicize it,” said Meyering. “This is a political stunt by individuals who want to have a certain candidate take seat five in the next election, and that’s not something the city residents should be happy about.”

The mayor’s response indicated that he had consulted with the city attorney, and that it was clear to him that council member Meyering’s actions placed him a position that was not fitting his role as a member of the city council. “Council member Meyering has indicated that he is not willing to recuse himself. I just want to let the public know that it has been my determination based on the advice provided by the city attorney; it is the city’s position that he should be recusing himself,” Hendricks stated.

Meyering would not budge and remained in his seat during the remainder of the session. Meyering, who sits on the far end of the council chambers, is next to the vacant council seat to his left. His physical separation from the rest of the council in real life now mimicked his philosophical one.

The project proposed for the former Lockheed Martin site at 1111 Martin Way in Sunnyvale, also known as Moffett Towers II project, is a 1.65 million square feet office development. Jay Paul is proposing the demolition of of 924,500 square feet of existing buildings and construction of 5 eight-story office buildings, an amenities structure and a parking garage. Each of the new 5 buildings would be approximately 320,000 square feet, and the net new square footage on the property would come to approximately 725,000 square feet. The new buildings will be LEED Platinum certified.

The development would be introducing a number of transportation management measures geared toward reducing traffic congestion in the area and would provide a modern facility akin to the neighboring developments occupied by tech giants Google and Juniper.

“The project includes transportation demand management measures that are designed specifically for this site and in compliance with the Moffett Park Specific Plan to [bring a] 25 percent daily average trip reduction and 30 percent peak hour trip reduction,” said Trudi Ryan, director of community development for the city of Sunnyvale who presented the project to the city council.

In addition to these measures, the developer also agreed to pay nearly $40 million in fees and public benefits that include $11 million for the US Highway 101/State Route 237 interchange improvements, $4.5 million for the design and construction of E Street and allowing public access across the street and a $7 contribution to fund three public safety officers for 7 years.

Developer Jay Paul himself provided a perspective to the council. “This is a continuation of the development that we’ve done, and what we’ve tried to do,” he said. “In doing this, we’ve been able to attract some really high quality tenants to the city and really pioneer this concept of having onsite amenities and exceeding the landscape requirements and creating something that is a very special environment.”

Paul also highlighted the transportation demand management measures that his company had promised and indicated how seriously the firm took them.

“We really are attracting tenants to take traffic and the [transportation demand management] things very seriously, and we’ve been monitoring them, and they are achieving these levels. You can see Google and some of our other tenants are using buses and a lot of alternative types of transportation, and I think only in these types of developments can you achieve that,” said Paul.

C. Thomas Gilman, president of DES Architects and Engineers, the lead architects on this project added in his more detailed description of the development, “We’ve been involved with the Jay Paul Company on a number of their campus projects, and I really feel so fortunate to be involved to be involved with this particular project.”

None of the seven residents speaking at the event were in support of the project. Most of them objected to the congestion that this development could cause by bringing the workforce numbers close to 24,000 in this neighborhood.

Council member Jim Davis responded to those fears by providing a historical perspective of this Sunnyvale neighborhood. “We’re looking at 24,000 employees up there. Yes, that’s a goodly number, but what a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that in the 1960s and 1970s with Lockheed, Loral and Ford Aerospace we had 32,000 employees in that same area—32,000!—8,000 more than what we currently have,” said Davis.

In a response to Meyering’s claims that the city council was biased, he also added, “You have a good council. People who stand up for the right reasons, who believe in making your home and your city a better place. It’s going to be a different place, but it’s going to be the very best place that we can possibly build for you.”

Meyering’s only contribution to the discussion was to introduce a motion to require the property owner to purchase and provide for free to all the employees in the new buildings annual transit passes for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority express bus service, light rail and Caltrain. The motion was not supported by any of the other council members.

“I’m seeing that’s going to die for a lack of a second,” said mayor Hendricks.

The council then moved to vote to proceed with the development agreement, a measure that was supported by everyone except Meyering.

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