By Jacob Bourne
Following a real estate holdings swap between LinkedIn and Google last summer, LinkedIn is now seeking to redevelop some of the parcels it acquired, namely at 700 and 800 East Middlefield Road and 1100 West Maude Avenue in Mountain View. This project would allow the company to relocate its headquarters from Sunnyvale back to Mountain View by constructing three new office buildings as well as retaining the three existing ones on the 28.7-acre site. A City Council study session was held on May 2 where Council members discussed the plans and possible community benefits associated with the project.
“We think this is a very transformational design of this site,” said Jim Morgensen, vice president, global workplace services, LinkedIn. “The biggest thing in it is this creation of open space, which is incredibly important from our view of what a campus is — we want a place where we can have the majority of our staff, who can actually have a kind of quad; who can actually interact, and who aren’t just spreading all over the neighborhood. Today we are riding bikes up and down on Maude, getting to our buildings that we have stretched about a mile across.”
The plans call for retaining three existing, two-story office buildings and a landscaped courtyard plus the removal of surface parking lots. Three new six-story LEED platinum office buildings would be added with 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail in one of them along Middlefield Road. Two, six-level parking structures would be constructed adding 2,900 spaces of mostly above-grade parking, with one level of below-grade in each structure. The plans also show pedestrian bridges connecting some of the offices, bike access improvements, and publicly accessible open space along Middlefield Road. About 612,000 new net square feet would result for a campus totaling over 1 million square feet.
“We call it our hybrid scheme for campuses nowadays, it’s not just the big megastructure,” commented David Sabalvaro, principal, Studios Architecture. “LinkedIn really values the verdant green campus and I think that’s what we’re going to deliver to the public.”
One of the goals of the study session was to consider the community benefits package proposed by LinkedIn, as no specific community benefits standard is currently in place for the East Whisman Precise Plan area where the project site resides. The package offered by LinkedIn is valued at $9 million and includes Maude Avenue Underpass improvements, funding for Mountain View Public Library, funding for a feasibility design study for Bernardo Avenue Crossing as well as contributing to the City’s Housing Impact Fee. Suggestions by Council members included advocating for adding electric shuttle buses, making mobility and safety improvements within the project area and advancing the payment of the affordable housing fee so as to expedite the construction of new housing. A possible issue was also raised that the proposed open space is located in a part of Mountain View that residents won’t be able to access easily.
“The project site is located on the eastern edge of the city limit with Sunnyvale,” said Lindsay Hagan, senior planner. “The site is surrounded by predominantly office uses in Mountain View and residential uses in Sunnyvale along the eastern edge. The residential units have various setbacks from the shared property line from roughly 10 feet to 75 feet.”
Some community members present at the meeting raised concerns about having the parking structures located in such close proximity to the Sunnyvale homes. Others were worried about construction noise, pollution and impacts on avian wildlife.
The project site currently carries Limited Industrial zoning and a General Plan designation of High Intensity Office. A rezoning to Planned Community would be required for the project. The site is also located within the Moffett Field Comprehensive Land Use Plan area that’s overseen by the Airport Land Use Commission for Moffett Field.