“A Project That Other Cities Would Die for, Including Cupertino!”

Google, Charleston East, Mountain View, Cupertino, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Bay Area

In a fairly brief and straight forward city council session in Mountain View last night, the members of the council unanimously approved Google’s 595,000 square foot 2000 North Shoreline Boulevard, also known as Charleston East office development. The only exception was Mayor Ken Rosenberg who had recused himself from the discussion.

The 18.7 acre project site sits on two vacant properties currently leased to Google by the city until 2063 with options to extend up to additional 40 years. The location is part of the North Bayshore Precise Plan Area and next to the Shoreline Amphitheatre, which is leased to Live Nation.

The development plan calls for a two-story office structure with a basement level for building facilities. The building would feature an iconic canopy roof structure, made up of separate roof panels, held up by a grid of poles. It would seek a LEED Platinum certification and be what the company describes one of the healthiest buildings in the world. “We’re shooting to create the ultimate healthy building and seeking to transform the industry in the process through having healthy air quality, natural materials as well as having all of the materials that we use be vetted and sourced through Google’s rigorous healthy materials requirements program,” said architect Michelle Kaufmann, who was one of the people representing the vision for the development at the meeting.

The development would also feature a 2-acre public plaza on the southeast corner of site, along with a series of outdoor areas for recreation. “From the Precise Plan we distilled into three main themes: community, nature and innovation,” added Kaufmann as she went to provide a tour of the future development and outline the project in more detail.

One of the more impressive features of the development is the canopy roof that covers the structure below. It will be made of photovoltaic shingles that will create 4 megawatts of electricity to power the building. “This is not a typical PV. We’re working closely with a solar manufacturer to develop a new type of panel that is bird safe, minimizes reflectivity and appears grey, rather than black, providing an architectural finish that flows seamlessly with the landscape,” said Kaufmann.

All the rainwater from the canopy will drain to the basement where it will be collected for reuse like toilet flushing, irrigation and building cooling. Part of overall potable water strategy was created to reduce water usage by over 40 percent, and an integral part of that will be a system in the basement of the building that can store 720,000 gallons of rain water.

More than 380 native trees will be added to the development, although approximately 200 would be removed, as well.

One thing that Google is taking very seriously is transportation. It is locating a 1,200 parking facility inconveniently across the street in order to encourage Googlers to use bikes and other means of transportation. The city itself has set aggressive goals in that regard, a 45 percent drive alone rate and 10 percent car pool rate, which Google has exceeded, according to the team that attended the meeting.

A number of organizations and its leaders from the city attended the meeting, including members of the school district, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Club. The feedback was nearly unanimously positive, with most the praise given to Google as a good corporate citizen that supports the efforts of these organizations financially and through volunteer work.

Without many lingering questions the council moved to vote and approved the project with Vice Mayor Leonard Siegel, who presided over the discussion proclaiming, “I strongly support this project, it’s really exciting. I just wanted to say this is a project that other cities would die for, including Cupertino!” The statement resulted in a thunderous laughter from the audience.

The project is set to move very quickly with grading scheduled for April and May of 2017 and steel completion by the end of the year, according to the company’s representatives.