Design Review Board endorses proposed changes to site near Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital as part of company’s new artificial intelligence partnership with UC Santa Barbara
Google is moving into 40,000 square feet of office space at 301 Mentor Drive, just west of Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. Google and UC Santa Barbara have forged a new partnership in conjunction with the company’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Google, the global Internet giant and a major player in the rapidly developing world of artificial intelligence, is planning a move into Goleta, and the decision is off to a promising start.
As part of a new partnership with UC Santa Barbara, Google will be researching and developing quantum computing using superconducting integrated circuits, in conjunction with its Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.
The company plans to move into 40,000 square feet of commercial office space at 301 Mentor Drive, off Hollister Avenue just west of Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.
Mountain View-based Google and its architects, ShubinDonaldson, have appeared before Goleta’s Design Review Board twice in the past two months with plans to make changes to the two-story, 68,029-square-foot office/warehouse building, which sits on a 5.3-acre lot.
The Design Review Board voted unamiously on Tuesday to support Google’s proposal. The changes include a new entryway, two generators, two uninterruptable power-supply systems, and three equipment chillers on new concrete pads within the existing greenbelt on the west side of the property.
The construction would result in a loss of 12 parking spaces, as well as eight paperbark trees.
Google initially had proposed to remove several oak trees but abandoned those plans, after local activists pushed to save them. About 15 oak trees are on the site.
“We appreciate very much the changes the applicant has made to the oak trees,” said activist Cecelia Brown, who requested that an arborist be on site for the trenching work.
“Normally when there is trenching near or under oak trees, there is an arborist who oversees that,” she told the board, explaining that the arborist ensures no harm is done to the trees. “They do add significantly to the site.”
Board member Jennifer Fullerton agreed.
“I am happy you were able to go back and save the trees,” she told the Google contingent.
Vice chairman Thomas Smith said Google is on the right track.
“I really appreciate the work you did on this and listening to the public’s concerns,” he said.
Board member Dennis Whelen said he was pleased with Google’s construction changes.
“I really applaud replacing parking with the mechanical systems,” he said.