The Sobrato Organization and Broadreach Capital Partners—two Silicon Valley developers long active in Mountain View—are pursuing mixed-use projects in the city’s bustling downtown and Moffett Gateway area along Highway 101, respectively.
The projects are just another reflection of Mountain View’s continuing strong real estate appeal.
“The (downtown) submarket is a no-brainer from a development standpoint,” Sobrato Commercial Real Estate Director Chase Lyman said, noting the restaurants, public transportation and all the other amenities that Mountain View’s business district already has to offer.
Sobrato, a real estate icon based in Cupertino, recently submitted an application for a downtown development at the site of St. Joseph’s Church at 582 Hope St. on land owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose (slider above). The 1-acre site is adjacent to Castro Street, the city’s vibrant historic retail corridor and symbolic center of downtown.
While preserving the church, this development would feature a four-story, 96,579-square-foot office and retail building along Castro and Church streets; three levels of underground parking; and 12 residential units, according to a project description by San Jose-based architectural and interior design firm Arc Tec in partnership with Steinberg Architects.
The fourth floor of the commercial building “will step back to ease the overall massing and create a balcony along Church Street and Castro Street with wrought iron guardrails and wood trellises,” the description said. The roofs would be ceramic tile as part of an effort to match the Spanish-style characteristics of the church.
The residential mix would break down as four one-bedroom, single-story flats and eight two-story townhomes. The project would also rebuild a church office.
“At approximately 100,000 square feet, we will be one of the larger buildings in downtown Mountain View,” Lyman said of the commercial part of the project, “and what helps set us apart is our large floor plates. Floors will be approximately 25,000 square feet, which will lead to great efficiencies.”
Large floor plates can create a collaborative workplace, flexibility with room requirements, improved work-space ratios and other benefits.
The commercial building would also have a side-core design, Lyman said. That means restrooms and elevators would be constructed along the side of the building, leading to “a lot of open and flexible work space with great natural light.”
Sobrato eyes breaking ground on the project later this year, he said. Construction would last about two years. He declined to disclose the company’s estimated total investment in the project.
Sobrato was chosen to develop the site out of a request-for-proposal process by the diocese, he said. The diocese would see “an ongoing revenue stream” from the development, including a ground lease.
The city is currently reviewing Sobrato’s application for completeness, Mountain View Community Development Director Randy Tsuda said. But the project’s design “appears consistent” with the Downtown Precise Plan, which among other things calls for mixed-use development, pedestrian amenities and Castro Street enhancements.
The new buildings would “fit around the church,” Tsuda said. In the middle of the development would be a plaza, which “can be used by the church and office workers.”
Developers and office tenants continue to be drawn to downtown because of the shopping, dining and transit connections there, he added.
In Moffett Gateway, Palo Alto-based Broadreach would build a 255-room hotel and 199,000-square-foot office building on a vacant 10-acre parcel owned by the city. San Francisco-based architecture and planning firm WRNS Studio is working on the project.
The city recently signed a development agreement with Broadreach that formally outlines the project and other requirements, Tsuda said.
The agreement follows the city’s decision last summer to tap Broadreach among competing developers to build on the site, which sits in a triangle formed by Moffett Boulevard and Highways 101 and 85.
Development of the site would provide the city “a substantial annual revenue stream” that could be from a combination of ground lease, transient occupancy tax and other sources, a city staff report said.
In addition, the Broadreach project would enhance one of the gateway entrances to the city, Tsuda said, noting that the area also leads into the North Bayshore neighborhood—a technology mecca of sorts where Google, LinkedIn and Intuit are headquartered.
The project could go before the City Council for final approval in March 2016, he said. Construction could start November 2016 and finish in about a year.
Sobrato and Broadreach have had a number of projects and proposals in Mountain View over the years. Both are in a high-profile competition with Google, LinkedIn and three other developers for development rights in North Bayshore.
Sobrato’s North Bayshore proposal is for a 703,148-square-foot high-tech office and research-and-development campus. Broadreach would build a 224,508-square-foot office building in North Bayshore.
They and the other developers are up against epic, visionary plans from Google and LinkedIn. Google is aiming for a futuristic new headquarters measuring 3.4 million square feet while LinkedIn seeks to build a regional destination hot spot that combines office, entertainment and retail venues totaling 1.9 million square feet.