Castro Commons - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is this plan submitted to City Council?
A: GPR Ventures has formally submitted plans to the City on Nov 6, 2023 and a rebumittal to comments occured in Feburary 2024 . All previous discussions and submissions were informal and conceptual prior to November 2023.
Q: I'm new to this project. What's a summary that explains the entire project and its objectives?

A: Castro Commons is a residential mixed-use project proposed at the intersection of Castro Street and El Camino Real. The goal of this project is to provide housing (including BMR), and commercial/retail space, and revitalize the Gateway Park by designing community-oriented components that truly celebrate the pedestrian experience for locals and visitors. A generational assembly of adjacent parcels has made this project possible!

The project creates a pedestrian-oriented development that activates Castro Street and Gateway Park by creating ground-floor retail shops and restaurants. These street-activated uses include a recessed arcade for outdoor dining and a pedestrian walking/shopping experience that will activate both Castro Street and Gateway Park. The project is proposing to close Fairmont Street to autos and create a new “Pedestrian Paseos” that encourages walking and bicycle use while at the same time helps to promote a connection to downtown and the “Old Town” neighborhood to the east. The Paseo features include; space for outdoor dining and seating, raised landscape planters, unique lighting and other pedestrian features to further promote a walkable addition to the neighborhood. Street level residential entries, a neighborhood community room and fitness center all open out to the new Paseo which promotes additional pedestrian activation along this new connector to Castro Street.

Q: Will the residential units be apartments or condominiums?
A: Our current design is being modeled to be for-sale condominiums.
Q. What will the architecture look like?
A: The project proposes a mixture of warm/rich materials such as stone, wood siding, wood trellis features for landscaping, raised deck planters include trees and cascading vines. These building materials and landscaping will add warmth and richness to the other proposed contemporary materials of plaster, glass and aluminum canopies. The contemporary accent design features reflect the surrounding office and mixed-use buildings located at the corner of El Camino Real and Castro Street. Unique suspended lighting, arcade wall sconces, and soffit lighting enhanced the pedestrian spaces during nighttime hours. Suspended public art at the Paseo “bridge feature” will create a focal point for pedestrians along the Paseo. Wall murals celebrating Mountain View’s historic past are also located on multiple elevations and floor levels of the project.

Design is subject to change.
Q: What is the unit count?
A: 120 Total Residential Units
  • 96 units - (market rate)
  • 24 BMR units (20% of total)
2 underground levels of parking.
Q: What is a paseo?

A: A "paseo" is a walkable pathway within the project. The main paseo is created by making a portion of Fairmont Avenue - between Castro and Hope Street - into a pedestrian street. The paseos also serve as a connection between the residential fabric of the community in the rear of the project to the vibrant downtown urban character of the Castro Street. The paseos are designed to reflect a true city street for pedestrians and bicycles.

The human-scale of the paseo is achieved by introducing architectural details through various building components such as residential porches, canopies, terraces and balconies all along its length. It is interspersed with outdoor dining elements, benches, cobbled stone walkways, benches, and drought-tolerant landscaping. The walkable arcade provides a visually transparent commercial edge that activates the street and the Gateway Park.

Q: What is the maximum number of stories currently proposed at the Castro Commons site?
A: Seven stories. Most of the project will be fewer than seven stories, with stepdown plans likes a wedding cake.  This design not only respects the existing neighborhood due to massing but also allows for more affordable housing units with that additional floor.
Q: What will happen to the Heritage Trees in the area?
A: Our underground parking structure has since changed due to these concerns, especially with the Heritage Trees at Gateway Park. Our underground parking structure has been re-designed to make sure it will have no impact to the trees above. As for the rest, it’s too early to determine at this stage of the development process, however, we value all trees and will make every effort to retain as many as possible.
Q: What is the benefit to the project and to the neighborhood with the partial closure of Fairmont Ave?
A: GPR is currently authorized to negotiate the purchase of a portion of Fiamront Ave at a fair market value. The portion of Fairmont Ave will be closed to through traffic and become a walkway (aka. paseos) to enhance the walkability to shops, restaurants, and housing. The paseo will be wide and provide a light and airy feel.
Q: How will Castro Commons blend in with the surrounding single-family homes in adjacent neighborhoods?
A: Castro Commons was designed to minimize the transitions from our multi-story project to the surrounding neighborhood. The project has been designed like a wedding cake, stepping down from the highest points, furthest away from the single-family neighborhoods to much lesser heights as it approaches the street level. Castro Commons will also act as a sound barrier to the high-traffic Castro Street and El Camino making for much quieter living. Wide pedestrian walkways will be connecting the Old Town neighborhood to Gateway Park and Castro.

The Fairmont paseo will be well-lit and have high canopies. All of this will encourage outdoor walking, bicycling, shopping, and dining for the community in a clean and open environment. This is what we like to call outdoor-indoor living. The back end of the project will include an open space/park area, further enhancing the transition from the building to the neighborhood.
Q: Do the current drawings represent the project design?
A: The overall architecture may change and vary based on the latest renderings and discussions we have with the City and community.
Q. Will there be affordable housing (BMR) units available?
A: 20% of the units will be allocated for BMR.
Q: Is the project sustainable?

The project proposes to take advantage of many environmental features such as PV panels to generate and storage power. Electric vehicle charging stations for residential and visitor parking, electric bike and scooter charging will also be included in the project to help promote a green solution. Other sustainable features are highlighted and included in the green energy checklist within the drawing set

Q. Will there be tenant relocation benefits for the residents in the apartments?
A. Yes.
Q. How will the massing of the project affect the shading in the area?
A: See the PROJECT UPDATES page.
Q: What is the purpose of the community outreach meetings?
A: The GPR team cares about being good neighbors as their office is in the current project and will remain there in the future as their headquarters. GPR has had over 100 individual meetings, open houses, community meetings, and group meetings with community leaders. Through this outreach, the design has changed to reflect the neighborhood and community’s needs and wants. Of course, it is based on a consensus and not a 100% agreement among the entire community. We seek to continue adjusting the design to accommodate the community's needs.
Q. What type of feedback have you received?
A: We have been doing extensive community outreach and most of the feedback is supportive! See more of the types of comments we've heard on the TOWN HALL page.
Q. Are we maxing out the square footage and unit count?
A: No. In fact, we are under the maximum number of units and square footage. We made these changes to the site plan after community outreach expressed concerns about the building setbacks and massing. However, due to this, there will be a loss of units and a loss of BMR units, but can be offset with additional square footage from a 7th story.
Q. Does the building go right up to the street?
A: No, there is a sufficient setback.
Q. The previous plans had Gateway Park moving, why are you keeping it?
A: Even though the Precise Plan calls for the relocation of Gateway Park, select influential spokespeople from the Old Town Mountain View community have protested this, despite the Park's lack of utilization and safety.

Castro Commons

SUBMITTED
[email protected]+1 (650) 584-3110
LOCATIONS
Development & Current HQ: 843 Castro St, Mountain View CAOffice: 2323 S Bascom Ave Suite 100, Campbell CAOffice: 2720 Gateway Oaks St, Suite 110, Sacramento CA
DISCLAIMER:
Disclaimer: This design is preliminary and is subject to change. Conceptual rendering are indicative. This project been submitted to the City of Mountain View. Fairmont Avenue is the property of the City of Mountain View.