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Since 2002, the City of San Francisco has been trying to sell six undeveloped acres of land down in the middle of Mountain View.
Owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), two water lines from the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir to San Francisco run beneath the parcel at 450 North Whisman Road.
In 2005, the City of San Francisco entered into an option agreement to sell the parcel to developer KMJ Urban Communities (KMJ) for $8,100,000 with an easement to allow the SFPUC to service its water lines. And by 2007, a proposal to build a 69-unit development of rowhouses upon the 6.4 acre site had been proposed.
Facing neighboring opposition (“the proposed rowhouse development would undermine our neighborhoods identity and spirt, eroding the cooperation and mutual concern that now thrives here, and in time could destroy the sense of community that exists in out neighborhood”) and pushback from the City of Mountain View, the option agreement between KMJ and the City of San Francisco expired in 2011.
This afternoon, the sale agreement is slated to be revived without any adjustment in the sale price and with KMJ planning to immediately develop a 3.59 acre portion of the site which would be consistent with the City of Mountain View’s General Plan, circumventing additional environmental review and pushback from the City.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I don’t understand the complaint against this project at all. This neighborhood is currently a mashup of different zoning and building types, including condos and townhouses. More townhouses would improve the neighborhood.
    [Editor’s Note: The letter of opposition was penned by a neighbor living in a one-story home on Walker Drive, 30-feet from the proposed three-story development.]

  2. Posted by soccermom

    $8.1mm / 3.59 acres * 43,600sf/a = $51 a foot for dirt blocks from Google. BINGO! Sorry San Francisco ratepayers. You just got effed again.
    Will the new development have a Chipotle location?
    Since the SFPUC owns the property, can’t we project formula retail rules into Mountain View for the betterment of humanity?
    HOW DID THE SFPUC AFFORD TO KEEP THIS SITE VACANT FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS ?!?!?!
    And it’s only Monday…

  3. Posted by More for Non-Profits

    My name sez it all…we wont use the proceeds to fix SF City infrastructure, rather to pay the non-profit industry for there “services”…sorry I am cranky today.

  4. Posted by BigV

    seems cheap to me.
    and it is nice to see the NIMBY’s are everywhere. SF does not have a monopoly on them.

  5. Posted by Marten

    To echo, there are already similar developments at either end of the parcel, at Tyrella and Whisman Courts, and even at the end of Walker Drive. And this isn’t in the ‘middle’ of Mtn View. The ‘middle’ of Mtn. View is on the west side of 85.

  6. Posted by good christian

    yeah, definitely not the middle of mountain view. I haven’t been in this region for some time. way out of the way. I’d have to go look around.
    I do think the objection to the “row house” development was rather eloquently put. well written and sincere.
    the “valley” is chock full of heinous development. it’s like a nightmare. you have no idea where you are. because you’re nowhere. it’s disturbing.
    I see there’s a fairchild drive nearby? hmmm. then I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a superfund site to boot. a lot of toxic plumes from that era. yes, I see there’s a google campus. I wonder if that’s the building they had to evacuate?

  7. Posted by Schaetzer

    Actually that’s probably not such a bad price. First, residential land doesn’t sell based on price per square foot. It sells based on price per dwelling unit. This figures out to something over $117K/DU which is probably not that far off the mark. Bear in mind that the city will be retaining an easement for access to the water line. My guess is that the facts are probably a bit different. The water department owns a swath of land the crosses the peninsula – in more than one location I believe. There will probably be a water line in easement that bisects the property longitudinally. That certainly impacts the utility of the land. The only thing the surface of the encumbered land would be usable for would be yards and/or parking. Examples of a few other peninsula deals.
    1. 5.15 acres o tech land at 1615-1625 Plymouth Street sold last week. The asking price was $66.87/SF. Unlike single family product in the Bay Area, development land does not tend to sell above asking.
    2. ±10 acres at 1717 Technology Dr in San Jose bout by Kaiser for $45/SF in December 2012.
    3. ±31 acres at N First St N of 237 in San Jose, sold by Cisco in August 2012 for ±$16/SF with entitlements for 620,000 SF office campus.
    4. ±0.77 acres at 110 Tilton Ave in San Mateo fully entitled for 52 apartments unit, $58.85/SF and $37,955/DU.
    Of course, you can find higher unit prices, but you’ll probably find that the transactions are for very high density projects. And the average price per square foot for land on the peninsula is nowhere near what you see in San Francisco.
    ~Your friendly appraiser.

  8. Posted by good christian

    just glancing at some streetviews. yeah, it appears like there’s portions of the neighborhood that are “in tact” – i.e., have some distinguishing character.
    then there’s the blighty development stuff too that we’ve all seen, everywhere. all over the valley. east bay, manteca, las vegas, where-ever and everywhere. it’s devoid of character. that would be putting it nicely – when it makes your heart and brain flinch into darkness to be in proximity. they should scrap the bear on the california flag and put a picture of one of these developments beside a mall.
    I can totally understand why locals would send a plea against a 69 unit development. maybe it’s ‘what the area needs’ but I’d bet $ that the development is going to blow: pastel stucco and clowny developer architecture with plastic lines and cartoon shapes. but a multiple in density compared to the homes around it. that’s for sure. it’s hard to picture an example that doesn’t suck. these are upscale suburban projects. and these developments obliterate place.
    that said, I haven’t seen any design proposals. I’m just saying – having lived in the south bay for a long while and still visit frequently. all the valley’s old farms and orchards were steamrolled to build crap like this and the horrible corporate parks. it’s very depressing.
    you can just drive down el camino for 5 minutes anywhere to get a taste.
    all said, how cool would it be if there was 69 unit development proposed with even just good architecture? great is one thing. just good would truly excellent.

  9. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a superfund site to boot.”
    As a matter of fact there is. This development is sandwiched between two EPA study areas, one of which overlaps the eastern portion of this parcel. The EPA calls this the “MEW site”.

  10. Posted by SocketSite

    The resolution approving the Restated Option Agreement for the sale of 450 North Whisman Road as outlined above was recommended for adoption by San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

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