Quick Take: Downtown development is a commercial project on privately owned land. The developers bought the land from JP Morgan in 2015. The city's involvement is limited to granting approval to various aspects and ensuring it meets zoning and building regulations.
The developers want to do a quality job that will be a source of pride for themselves and the city. They and we on the council work together.
"Redwood Square": When I first met Sares-Regis (the developers) I told them most people would like a "copy-paste" of the one block of Murphy Street a few more blocks. Unsurprisingly, they said the land was simply too expensive for that sort of low density.
The density will be higher than many would like but they made the trade-off (which I agree with) to build a little higher in order to allow more open space along the newly restored and extended Murphy Street and the new "Redwood Square" seen in the drawing here.
Housing vs Commercial: The city requested and got more housing than had been originally planned. Some housing is reserved for moderate and low-income families.
The highest building will be 12 stories in the center of the development. The height will be the same as the Nokia and Apple office buildings on Mathilda - floors in residential buildings have less height than in office buildings.
Without that height, "Redwood Square" would not be viable.
Frances St. Extension: The Macy's building will be replaced. As seen in the accompanying drawing, the new building will have an open pedestrian walkway through the middle to allow people to walk from Frances St. through to "Redwood Square".
The height of the buildings allows for more open space between them.
Life is full of trade-offs - if you need a certain amount of floor space to be economically viable, then to get a greater feeling of space you need to build higher.
The Main Thing is the downtown will be done! As a cohesive design, it will be a viable downtown for the foreseeable future.
The increased housing will support more stores for a more varied shopping experience.
The open space will be there for us and our children for many, many years.
Finally: I think everyone will like the result. Visit the website CityLine Sunnyvale for more information.