Trammell Crow Company has withdrawn its plans for the controversial Morgan Hill Technology Center proposal off Cochrane Road in northeast Morgan Hill, according to city staff.
“Trammell Crow has received significant feedback from the community regarding the proposed project and will evaluate the feasibility of proceeding with a smaller-scale project that would meet the needs of the City and the community. At this time there is no further information regarding a potential new proposal or timing,” reads a Sept. 18 “Weekly 411” email newsletter from the City of Morgan Hill.
The newsletter notes that Trammell Crow informed the City of Morgan Hill of its desire to withdraw the previous plans for the property on Sept. 18. Those plans included six industrial/commercial buildings ranging in size from about 80,000 to 220,000 square feet. The plans presented a mix of industrial, residential and commercial uses for the site; the industrial buildings included a total of 124 loading dock doors.
Trammell Crow had also proposed amendments to the city’s General Plan and Zoning ordinance in order to accommodate the MHTC proposal.
Senior Vice President of Trammell Crow Company’s Northern California Business Unit, Don Little, said in a statement, “In every market where we work, TCC is dedicated to open dialogue and being good corporate citizens. Our decision to withdraw our current development application was based on thoughtful consideration of the feedback we have received within the community and from City leadership. We are in the process of evaluating a revised development plan and expect to bring that forward when ready. We have made substantial investments in Morgan Hill and remain committed to developing our two projects that adhere to our high-quality development standards and integrate well with the needs of the community.”
The first iteration of the MHTC proposal at the same property—located adjacent to U.S. 101 near the intersection of Cochrane Road and DePaul Drive—envisioned an even larger commercial and industrial project. Trammell Crow, which is based in Dallas, Tex., purchased the property in early 2019, and shortly thereafter proposed a project with three buildings totaling more than 1 million square feet.
The developer scaled the size of the industrial buildings down to their latest proposal in late 2019. A consultant then prepared an environmental study on the revised project. The draft environmental study was completed in July 2020. The study found that the latest MHTC proposal would negatively impact traffic, air quality, noise and biological resources; and it listed impacts that the developer would be required to mitigate.
Now, Trammell Crow is considering proposing a project that is smaller than the one described in the July 2020 draft environmental report, according to city staff.
Since Trammell Crow purchased the DePaul property, the MHTC proposal has drawn ongoing public outcry from residents who are concerned about the project’s impacts on Morgan Hill. Project opponents have also complained the MHTC plans were not properly noticed to surrounding residents, and have worried that the site will be occupied by a massive distribution center that might not provide the high-paying jobs that Trammell Crow has predicted.
In fact, the MHTC proposal was the impetus for the citizen-created Morgan Hill Responsible Growth Initiative, which seeks to prohibit large-scale fulfillment centers in the city limits.
City staff said they will release more details about Trammell Crow’s updated plans for the MHTC property as they become available.