843 Castro Street, Mountain View CA 94041
Project Type: Mixed Use
Owner/Developer: GPR Ventures
Presented to our members: August 2023
Catalyze SV evaluates project sustainability, equity, and vibrancy. Learn about our project review process.
For more information, please refer to our scorecard below:
* Projects go through several phases. Developers submit applications to the City, get their design reviewed, do redesigns based on City & community feedback, resubmit proposals for review, and get approval (though can even redesign after approval)
Castro Commons Project Scorecard
The mixed-use project located at the corner of Castro Street and El Camino Real proposes the construction of a 7-story building with 128 new condominiums, including 15% units on-site designated for affordable housing. Some of the project’s amenities include an active city park, open spaces, paseos, ground-floor retail and restaurant spaces, and community-dedicated meeting rooms to gather. Our members offer the following feedback on the project:
Castro Commons scored an overall 4 out of 5 from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
Our members commend the developer for going above and beyond in their community engagement efforts, which has notably enhanced the project. Their proactive approach to engaging with residents and stakeholders is commendable. We appreciate the developer's responsiveness to feedback, especially regarding the park, given the project's prime location at the southern entrance to Castro Street, a focal point in the community. Nevertheless, there is a shared consensus among our members that the developer should consider broadening their outreach efforts to encompass underrepresented groups, with a particular focus on potential tenants of the Below Market Rate (BMR) units. Overall, the developer's commitment to fostering a collaborative environment and their proactive engagement with stakeholders is greatly appreciated.
Vibrancy Score: 5/5
Our members highly value the vibrant and community-oriented design of the project. Among the best-received features: the Paseo concept, wider sidewalks, and outdoor spaces, all of which effectively integrate the project into the neighborhood. We also appreciate the inclusion of community spaces, outdoor decks, and the project's focus on retail serving the broader neighborhood and the thoughtful preservation of light and space in the Paseo. The building's design, characterized by its human scale and potential to become an anchor at the El Camino end of Castro Street, was well-received by CSV members. One of them suggested enhancing the project's vibrancy by considering art installations or murals. However, there is a shared concern among our members about ensuring that the Paseo remains accessible to everyone, not just residents. Overall, our members praised the project for its community-focused design and potential to enliven the area.
Transportation Score: 3/5
Our members are pleased with the proposed project's proximity to the bus stop, light rail station and mountain view transit center. The current design includes 216 residential parking spaces and 149 bike parking spaces, including electrical vehicle (EV) charging stations. While we largely support a lower parking ratio, there's a strong preference for unbundling car parking. The inclusion of these bike parking spaces and parking underground to provide more homes was well received by our members. One of our members recommended outreach to bicycle pedestrian advisory committees and bike advocacy groups to improve bike storage facilities. Additionally, we appreciate the inclusion of EV charging infrastructure for various types of electric vehicles, such as cars, e-bikes, and e-scooters. However, we suggest additional charging capacity to meet the anticipated shift toward all-electric vehicles in the next decade. Overall, our members prioritize unbundled parking, transit passes, and robust bike storage to encourage sustainable transportation choices.
Sustainability Score: 3/5
Our members emphasize buildings that go above and beyond on sustainability. As we understand, this project includes solar rooftop and LEED Silver certification. Although we understand third-party certifications such as LEED or Greenpoint Rated (GPR) can be challenging, there are 2 higher standards for LEED – Gold and Platinum – that we recommend developers pursue. In the absence of those, our members emphasize indoor air quality, sustainable materials for energy efficiency and noise reduction. There's encouragement to explore a zero-carbon construction process through third party service providers like Moxion Power.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 5/5
The project's proposal to construct a 7-story building with 128 homes using the State Density Bonus Law garnered positive feedback from our members. We are pleased to see this intensely zoned development situated close to transit access. The prospect of a seven-story structure stands out as an opportunity to set a precedent for increased density and vertical development on Castro Street that can encourage further growth and revitalization along it. Underlining the significance of addressing local housing requirements and the need for more homes, our members voiced their preference for maintaining the existing height and density without making any reductions.
Affordability Score: 4/5
Our members are staunch supporters of including on-site affordable housing in residential projects. We appreciate the project's proposal to designate 15% of the units on-site as affordable housing. The bedroom mix was well received by our members. That being said, we have a collective desire for the developer to exceed this 15% threshold, with a particular emphasis on targeting lower income ranges, such as 30-50% Area Median Income (AMI). We also have concerns regarding the displacement of businesses and residents currently on the site, with a desire to explore options for their return. Overall, our members value the inclusion of affordable housing but encourage an increase in both quantity and extent lower AMI levels.
Legacy Score: N/A
Members of Catalyze SV didn’t think this category was applicable to this site. However, the project's efforts to preserve oak trees, a Gateway sign, maintain the park, and include murals are appreciated. The idea of a "Gateway" sign was particularly well-received as a potential place marker for Castro Street's entrance.
Overall Score: 4 out of 5
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