The town that Google built: Plans unveiled for large redevelopment project in California
Google originally released plans for its new Mountain View Charleston East headquarters back in 2015. After some doubt, the project is now well underway. However, the company isn't content to stop there, but also has plans for a big chunk of land nearby. Google aims to turn it into a pedestrian-friendly area complete with offices, housing and retail space.
In documents submitted to Mountain View officials called the North Bayshore Framework Plan, Google lays out its vision to transform the existing North Bayshore district, in which it is a major landholder "from a place for cars to a place for people." Indeed, walkability will be a major focus of the project, with around 38 acres (15 hectares) of new nature areas and open spaces, plus cycle paths and pedestrian-only walkways added.
A Google representative confirmed to us that the company is working with Sitelab on the master plan, and not BIG and Heatherwick Studio as is being widely reported. BIG is working with Sitelab and Google on the office component of the master plan, and Heatherwick is working with Google on the design of Landings, which is another office project in North Bayshore currently under review by the city.
It will also partner with developers to create between 6,000 and 6,600 new homes, of which 20 percent will be deemed affordable (the example given was that they will be suitable for a single-wage household, like that of a school bus driver or office assistant).
"Google thrives when the community thrives," says the report. "We feel many of the same pressures and challenges that our communities face, including traffic congestion and a regional housing and affordability crisis that gets more severe with each passing year. We recognize our unique opportunity to be part of the solution – to spark positive change by creating replicable solutions that work for everyone."
Other notable aspects of the North Bayshore Framework Plan include 3 million sq ft (roughly 280,000 sq m) of office space. New offices will be designed to achieve LEED Platinum rating (a green building standard), while several buildings will be constructed using CLT (cross-laminated timber).
Elsewhere will be hotels, retail and entertainment areas, and a new 3.5 acre (1.4 hectare) elementary school.
It's early days yet and this is a major project, so we can expect to hear more detail on it in the coming months. Assuming it does go ahead – which seems relatively likely since the plan is designed with Mountain View officials' own wider plans for redevelopment in mind – it'll take several years to realize.