Mountain View mayor asks hotel developer for a 'dollar figure' in advance of building

Well, that was blunt.

At a city council meeting Tuesday, Mountain View Mayor John McAlister asked local hotel developer Shashi Group how much the group would be willing to add in “community benefits” to advance their project.

“Is there a dollar figure? Say, $US1.5 million, to move your project along tonight?” McAlister asked the developers. 

The Shashi group did not open up their wallets to McAlister or the city of Mountain View, and their five-story hotel project in the coveted North Bayshore neighbourhood was ultimately sent back to city staff to evaluate.

Adding community benefits is a requirement for projects applying for Bonus Floor Area Ratio (FAR), or increased density, in the North Bayshore area of Mountain View. Despite not counting against the allotment, the Shashi Group was up against Google and LinkedIn over the 2.2 million square feet of new development available in the area.

While other applicants like LinkedIn promised a movie theatre and pledged money to re-facilitate the city’s library remodel, Shashi Group didn’t incorporate such flashy benefits into their proposal. Council members debated the hotel’s availability of meeting space as an actual enhancement to the community and whether two electric vehicle chargers was enough to constitute a benefit.

Even though the mayor was fishing for funds, other council members were pushing really hard for other tangible benefits like an art instalment — although you can bet its price tag will probably be below the $US1.5 million Shashi Group refused to cough up for council Tuesday.

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