By Meghan Hall
The City of San Bruno has officially approved two ordinances that will not only shape the Bayhill neighborhood for years to come, but allow video and entertainment platform YouTube to move forward with a large expansion of its headquarters. In a unanimous vote last week, the City Council opted to approve an update to the Bayhill Specific Plan as well as the first phase of YouTube’s proposed 440,000 square foot expansion.
The area within the Bayhill Specific Plan totals 92.2 acres and is generally bounded by Interstate 280, El Camino Real, San Bruno Ave. and State Route 380. The revamp to the Specific Plan arose, according to City documents, because of YouTube’s request to expand within the Bayhill Office Park. Previously, the Bayhill Specific Plan included a 1.6 million square foot allotment for office space. Under updates, the City officials will allow for up to 2.301 million square feet of office to be built, as well as 573 housing units and upgrades to transportation and existing infrastructure.
“The Bayhill Specific Plan is another example of smart planning that balances commercial development with community needs. The Specific Plan provides a roadmap for sustainable growth that offers much needed funding for affordable housing and public infrastructure, as well as community benefit dollars that will have a lasting impact on the City of San Bruno,” said San Bruno City Manager Jovan D. Grogan. “I am thankful for the partnership with YouTube, all Bayhill property owners, our City Council, Planning Commission, and the professional staff — everyone’s commitment to this project allowed us to keep moving forward, safely, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis,” commented City Manager Jovan D. Grogan.
The goal of the Bayhill Specific Plan is to help guide development in the neighborhood for the next 20 or so years. Part of those plans account for YouTube’s growth. Currently, YouTube owns ten parcels within the Bayhill Office Park, totaling 11 million square feet of space. In 2019, YouTube acquired additional Gap properties at 901 Cherry Ave.
YouTube’s Phase One plans are to demolish several buildings at 1150-1250 Bayhill Drive. The development will include 440,000 square feet of space for a total of 301,476 square feet of new, net space. The square footage will be located in two new buildings of “modern, sustainable construction.” Underground parking will also be added.
“Fifteen years ago, the City of San Bruno helped make YouTube’s move to the City possible by designing a land use plan that concentrated office development near major freeways, public transportation hubs, and an international airport. The Bayhill Specific Plan builds on that legacy and will be a catalyst for future innovation and investment,” said YouTube Director of Real Estate & Workplace Services, Drew Sherwood in a statement. “The entire YouTube team is grateful for the leadership and vision of the City of San Bruno that will allow YouTube to grow in the place we love and are proud to call home.”
YouTube will move forward with its expansion plans as soon as possible and is currently seeking construction permits and other project proposals. Upon completion, the project will contribute $130 million in public benefit funds that will be used to finance infrastructure, affordable housing and new projects and services. Benefits will be broken into $26 million in community benefits allocated during Phase One, plus an additional $56 million over the project’s lifetime, $35 million in affordable housing fees, and 10,000 construction jobs.
YouTube has come a long way since its founding in 2005, when the company’s first offices were located above a pizzeria in San Mateo. The firm officially moved to San Bruno just a year later in 2006 and has been headquartered in the city ever since. The move to San Bruno occurred around the same time that YouTube’s parent company, Google, acquired the firm for $1.65 billion. Over the past year, YouTube’s revenue increased by 84 percent to about $7 billion, according to a mid-summer earnings announcement by Google.
To date, YouTube is San Bruno’s second largest employer, with nearly 2,400 employees in the City. The company hopes that over the course of its expansion in San Bruno, the project will continue to stimulate the regional economy but encourage sustainable development.
“At YouTube, we believe development isn’t just about building the best offices, it’s about doing our part to solve challenging problems and help our neighborhood thrive. Over the past year, we’ve seen the impact of the pandemic as local businesses closed, communities were disproportionately impacted, and many were forced to search for new jobs,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in a recent blog post. “…We’re investing in San Bruno for the long term, and look forward to putting into action the steps approved by the City Council this week.”