Former U.S. Geological Survey and Institute could become Silicon Valley, the latest district of the city

Menlo Park — Two vast lands, just steps from Menlo Park Town Hall and the city’s Caltrain Station, are scheduled to be redeveloped after years of anticipation, a lifetime for the city desperately looking for a new location. We will provide you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Housing to achieve state-mandated goals.

A 17-acre federal US Geological Survey on Middlefield Road in Menlo Park has only announced that it will move to Moffett Field in Mountain View in 2016, a spokesperson for the Government Services Department told Mercury. It was put up for sale. news.

In addition to the adjacent 60 acres of land owned by SRI International, the institute wants to be a multipurpose urban village with new offices and housing. The two parcels have the potential to accommodate hundreds of new residential units. To prevent losing local control of home development from the California government, we will make dents in about 3,000 new homes that the city will have to build over the next few years.

For years, USGS real estate has been focused on affordable housing by supporters and elected officials who have long waited for the transition from federal to local jurisdiction, and the city government has redeveloped the site. It is possible to shape. In addition, the June announcement that SRI International plans to build at least 400 new housing units at a nearby site creates a new Menlo Park district that some city councilors and home defenders can’t waste. This is an opportunity to do it.

However, the results that many want are not guaranteed.

The U.S. Government Services Department, which owns federal office buildings nationwide and is responsible for selling USGS sites, is currently planning to sell real estate, selling real estate and public online auctions, according to Andra. We are planning to proceed with the sale strategy of. Higgs.This site has already been posted Loop netThe online marketplace for commercial real estate, but hasn’t received a big one yet, Higgs said.

According to Higgs, the GSA “is well aware that additional housing development is needed throughout the Bay Area.” However, “like most private sector real estate agents,” the GSA does not mandate a particular development type.

“Developers need to work with the city of Menlo Park to address the needs and concerns of the community,” Higgs said. “Bidders will be provided with information about Menlo Park City zoning and other details that will affect property reuse plans. The federal government does not control regional zoning, so permitted use is Menlo Park. Eligible for the city. The city of Menlo Park is aware of the planned sale and is willing to work with new buyers. “

Three council members interviewed by The Mercury News said they would work with developers to help rezone the area so that they can offer affordable housing on the USGS site. Jen Warosin, a councilor representing District 3 where the USGS building is located, said the process could be carried out at the same time as locating the 3,000 state-mandated housing units that the city had to build.

“We need more housing at all income levels across Menlo Park. I think adding housing with transportation, schools and other services definitely meets the criteria,” said Warosin. increase.

Like the Palo Alto next door, Menlo Park has a job to deal with housing imbalances, which gets worse over the years and new offices are built to make up for it without adding more housing. Large multipurpose redevelopment projects, including housing, are expensive to build, and developers often use expensive office space to offset the cost of building a new home.

“We are very sensitive to getting worse than we are today because of the huge shortage of housing,” said Warosin. “That said, you don’t want to get rid of all your work and become like Detroit or something. In honor of the people here, so that you can build more homes. I hope I can grow up. “

As suggested by former councilor Catherine Carlton, the way to avoid meeting the demands of profit-seeking developers is for the city to buy the property entirely. In 2017, Carlton joined other city authorities on a trip to Washington, DC, demanding that the city buy and use it for housing when the USGS campus was vacant.

In the past, local governments, with the support of large federal subsidies, have invested in real estate to accommodate important services and even build homes after the war. However, for members of the council who spoke to this news agency, purchasing the USGS site at market prices is not included in the card.

Mayor Drew Combs, who supports affordable homes on the USGS site, said buying the site from the federal government is “challenging, if not impossible.” Price tags estimated at over $ 110 million are not included in the city’s budget without resorting to borrowing.

“As the mayor, no one has told me about the city-managed banking accounts that have the kind of money to buy this property,” Combs said. “Of course, some communities and cities have a history of playing developer-type roles on non-governmental lands and buildings. At Menlo Park, we are a major party in the development of parcels. There is no tradition of acting as. I don’t think it’s time to start it. “

Combs expects cities to stick to the predominant development model. It’s about insisting on affordable housing when private developers come in. He said it was the best value for the city’s spending.

“At Menlo Park, I think the discussion of all sorts of affordable housing in which the city plays an active role will take place in real estate that the city already owns,” Combs said. “The idea that a city goes to market, pays the market price, and tries to participate in the discussion of affordable housing will be difficult, if not impossible. The plan to realize is the final ownership of the site. It will be a long-term discussion between people, cities and residents. “ Former U.S. Geological Survey and Institute could become Silicon Valley, the latest district of the city

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