VMware unveils plan for massive campus expansion

Company plans to build six buildings, two garages on its tree-lined Stanford Research Park property

Palo Alto's cloud-computing giant VMware is planning to dramatically expand its Stanford Research Park property by adding six buildings and two garages to its "campus in the forest."

The company made headlines earlier this year when it took over a 1-million-square-foot property formerly occupied by Roche. The company unveiled its plans for its expanded campus Thursday in front of the Architectural Review Board.

Though the board didn't vote on the project, members found plenty to like about VMware's proposal, which seeks to create what it calls a "campus in the forest." The site already has 500 trees, including oaks and redwoods, and the company has indicated that it plans to maintain its perimeter of mature trees.

Company officials are now working with city staff to develop a landscape plan that is consistent with the city's requirements, city Planner Jason Nortz wrote in a report.

The company's expanded Hillview Avenue campus would feature groves, trails and a plaza called, "Town Square," featuring oaks, sycamores and fountains.

"Visitors arrive and they know they arrived at the new VMware," David Walker, the landscape architect for the project, told the board.

The company also plans to add four office buildings to supplement the 16 existing ones at the site. These buildings would be added during the first of three construction phases. The second phase would entail building two amenity facilities featuring gyms and food services. For the third phase, VMware plans to construct three new parking structures.

Though the company is still refining its design, board members said they liked what they saw during their preliminary look.

Board member Judith Wasserman called it "generally a quite wonderful and exciting project" and called the landscaping elements in it "very strong." Her colleague Alex Lew agreed, called the company's landscaping design "stunning" and "really beautiful."

Board Chair Clare Malone Prichard agreed and said the project "keeps on getting better."

The board expects to begin its formal review of the project early next year.

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Like this comment
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

I hope that they have electric buses to run to CA Trains and a carpool policy, bike-friendly access, etc. I would hate to see Arastradero Road turned into a super highway to help this cloud-savvy company staff ingress and egress. The ecology of the community should not go up into the clouds.

Like this comment
Posted by Etaoin Shrdlu
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

And what demands will be made for housing, increased traffic, etc., or is Palo Alto's extortion limited solely to Stanford University?

Like this comment
Posted by business district
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:22 am

The Stanford Research Park is already zoned for office buildings. Is the new company going to have substantially more employees than old company had at its peak?

Stanford Park is still Stanford property, right? How much is the landlord responsible for infrastructure costs vs. the tenant?

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I wonder how much of this is being diverted from the shareholders?

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

I agree with Etaoin Shrdlu. It seems that only Stanford is subjected to the extortion attempts by the city of Palo Alto--demands for no new net car trips and housing for employees is only made of Stanford.
If traffic and housing is really a concern for the city then we should tell VMWare to move elsewhere.
Am also shocked that the ARB actually liked the project--usually they nitpick projects death with petty concerns and personal agendas.

Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

It is great to see VMware is utilizing the former Roche campus. Traffic on Arastradero Rd should be factored into this project. The main route to this campus is off Hwy 280 and Page Mill Rd. The stretch of Arastrdero Rd between Hwy 280/Page Mill to the VMware campus is narrow, poorly maintained (County Rds, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto all have responsibility for this stretch), and is overly travelled by a mulitude of users (cars, trucks, bikes, equestrians, pedestrians, etc.). Something needs to change before there is a horrific collision.

Like this comment
Posted by Who's who here
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

Potential impacts of the VMWare project were considered in planning for the Charleston/Arastradero project. The VMWare campus is already largely occupied.

Aforementioned comments about Stanford are ill informed. Stanford OWNS and leases the land these buildings sit on. Stanford quietly traded for the development rights that allow VMWare to build at this level of density as part of Stanford's Mayfield agreement with the city.

Stanford is really good at PR and they love to create the impression that they are being victimized by the city. Do your homework. Stanford is making out like a bandit on the Mayfield agreement...and so is VMWare.

Like this comment
Posted by Used to live there
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I used to work in that complex when it was Syntex, which was sold to Roche which sold it to VMware. It is on Stanford land bordering Los Altos Hills. Traffic leaves H280, goes down Page Mill then turns right onto Deer Creek Road, the County section of Arastradero Road will not need widening.

Typical PA people panicking about "too much traffic!!"

Like this comment
Posted by too much traffic
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm

The people who complain about "too much traffic" in these forums are mostly employees of the Stanford PR machine.

Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

"The people who complain about "too much traffic" in these forums are mostly employees of the Stanford PR machine."
Yoriko and the other neighborhood leaders who have been complaining about traffic problems are employees of the Stanford PR machine????? I guess the only place were traffic is really a problem is in your neighborhood, Too much traffic. Time for more traffic calming in College Terrace, it has been a week or two.

Like this comment
Posted by Ghaouar Camij Toschian
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2011 at 1:27 am

The point I want to make is 1 floor of commercial space creates demand for 10-12 floors of residential space, this is often underestimated and the housing never gets build. This results in a chronic shortage of housing.
Housing should be added on top of steel framed buildings, so they exceed 17 stories, because then, the incremental cost of adding 1 floor of apartments starts going down.
We need a state law that forces every city to be balanced and that forces every city to house its workers and students (number of housing units > (4 * number of jobs) + number of university students), the law should not allow any University or college to expand without supplying the additional housing required by the expansion. Cities with housing deficits should not be allowed to have height limits on residential apartment buildings.
The following shows that high-rise steel framed building represent an economic solution for housing people:
construction crew in the south-central Chinese city of Changsha has completed a 15-story hotel in just 6 days (Web Link)

The following shows the devastation of chronic housing deficits on low income workers:
26% of (US) renters are paying more than half their pre-tax income for housing (rent plus utilities). This is the highest in over 50 years. (Web Link)

Thanks in advance.
Thanks for listening.

Thank you very much. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thanks, Ghaouar Camij Toschian, gct at,
2500 Durant # 310, Bk, CA 94704, Rotating Outage Block 50
510 5408013
Web Link
Web Link
Please don't send me attachment files. Please include a meaningful subject in your email.

Visualize that the smoke of cigarettes is unpleasant to other people.
Visualize that peoples' civic duties do NOT include having to breathe the smoke from cigarettes.
Visualize that astrologers, fortune tellers, tarot card readers, psychics and palm readers are Crooks, Fools or Both.
Visualize using the Metric System.
Visualize that Skepticism is a virtue and that faith is NOT.
Visualize taking the stairs instead of the elevators.
Visualize walking instead of driving.

Like this comment
Posted by VMware Employee
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 22, 2011 at 7:19 am

Actually traffic on Arastradero IS horrific in the afternoon. This is because the alternate route to 280 (Coyote Hill to Page Mill ... or Deer Creek? ... the one without a traffic light) requires a highly dangerous left-hand turn onto Page Mill. The one WITH a light is not connected directly to campus and requires traveling on Arastradero.

At the non-light Page Mill intersection, traffic roars by from both directions and the visibility of oncoming traffic from the left is obscured by hillside. You start to nose out, and find yourself blown back by a car traveling 60 MPH toward Palo Alto. They are going to have to do something about traffic.

Keep in mind, too, that VMware uses CUBICLES to pack thousands of workers into a very small space. I doubt that Roche had a concentration of employees anywhere near what VMware currently has, much less what it will have in the future.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Based on the report, I'm a little confused about how much floor area is being added and how many estimated jobs are being added compared to now. Does anyone know how many people work there now, how many worked there back in the Syntex/Roche days, and how many will work there after the project is completed?

Like this comment
Posted by Liz
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Those of us who have to commute to Palo Alto from the east bay have NO mass transit options and little car pool options. Access to the far side of Palo Alto from 101 is misery. Suggest an 8 lane freeway through "professorville". Or improved train service from Fremont Bart.

Like this comment
Posted by Possible solution
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Liz, another option besides an "8 lane freeway through "professorville" would be for you to work in the east bay where you live.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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