Mayor Klein Cuts Ribbon on Sunnyvale’s New City Hall

Monday, April 3, 2023, was a cold and windy morning in the city of Sunnyvale, where city staff, local political leaders, and the press assembled in the shadow of Sunnyvale’s new City Hall to cut the ribbon on what is likely the nation’s first building to be both be certified LEED Platinum and achieve Net Zero Emissions.

“This moment has been 8 years in the making, beginning in 2015. Listening to our community is what got us here today,” explained City Manager Kent Steffens. Mayor Larry Klein explained that construction broke ground in December 2020, taking just over two years, amid the Pandemic. “It’s like an elegant modern museum, with wood elements reclaimed from Redwood trees that were on-site.”

The new City Hall stands at four stories, with 120,000 square feet of office space, next to the adjacent, single-level old City Hall. City services are moving into the new building, which still has some late construction kinks to work out. The new Council Chambers, with seating for 200 residents–twice the capacity of the old City Hall, remains unfinished due to some supply chain issues, but core city services, like the Construction Permit Center, are open for business. A public Grand Opening is scheduled to be held on September 23, which will mark the culmination of the first phase of Sunnyvale’s Civic Center Modernization project. Subsequent development of the Civic Center will involve the construction of a new two-story library and two-story Public Safety headquarters directly across the street from City Hall, along with new parkland and an amphitheater.

Costing $245 million, the new City Hall Building is light and airy and features wooden accents and several pieces of hardwood furniture. The lobby of the building stretches the height of its four floors, centered around a wood-clad floating staircase and accessible by elevators. Each floor features distinct artwork and seating adjacent large windows which afford an ever-greater view across the city. The Libby’s Water Tower is visible from the fourth floor of the lobby.

The building is designed to achieve a LEED Platinum certification, and the city will track energy to confirm Net Zero energy objectives, mainly through the rooftop installation of nearly 1,700 solar panels, which should provide 1.1 gigawatt-hours per year. Enough energy to power 100 homes, but not quite enough to power a Flux Capacitor. This is just as well, as the street in front of the new City Hall is designed as a pedestrian plaza, and it would be difficult and dangerous to pilot a DeLorean at sufficient speed to effect a time jump.

The green building features half a dozen posts for bicycle parking, which were nearly all occupied, near the main entrance. 87 spaces are available for private vehicles underground, including 11 EV charging stalls.


Planning Commission: July 22, 2019

Municipal Link:

Study Session

The Planning Commission reviewed progress on plans for the new City Hall, which draws inspiration from a “treehouse” theme. The structure is pursuing LEED Platinum certification and will be Net Zero, with a photovoltaic roof. Exterior elements to evoke wood have evolved to wood-colored metal, and the structure will need to be steel and concrete, as structural timber did not meet the fire requirements for the lower floor. The path between Olive and the building entrance will be paved in a flowing water pattern with granite. Commissioners were concerned that the pavement ought to be permeable and perhaps softened a bit with additional landscaping.

The facade of a hotel approved for construction at 1120 Innovation Way is being modified. Earth tones are giving way to ridged metal.

Sunnyvale Lumber

Trumark Homes petitioned for a General Plan Amendment Initiation request to study changing the General Plan designation for the Sunnyvale Lumber site at 870 W Evelyn to build townhomes. Staff recommended against this initiation, owing to the area being the only C-4 zoning in the city, which permits lumber yards, fabrication, and other consumer-oriented light manufacturing that is otherwise not commercially viable under a different zoning designation.

Several neighbors objected to the proposal. Concerns included traffic, parking, safety, privacy, and a general sentiment that they liked having the lumber yard as a neighbor. The Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council deny the General Plan Amendment Initiation request.

Morse and Ahwanee

A second General Plan Amendment Initiation request was heard for 828 Morse and 560 E Ahwanee. The site is an apartment complex that is not in great shape. The applicant states an ambition to rebuild the complex, in phases, to avoid displacing residents. The site was downzoned in the 1990s, so to rebuild, the site would need to be changed back to medium-high or high-density zoning. The site is adjacent to the Columbia Park, Middle School, and Neighborhood Center, adjacent to the freeway, and a short walk from bus stops on Fair Oaks.

Several residents came forward with concerns that the rental agreement was being modified, and it was difficult to understand the changes. Staff recommended that the city has partnered with Project Sentinel, which will be happy to help tenants understand their legal rights. The Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the General Plan Amendment Initiation, but that the city should also pursue an agreement with the landlord to avoid displacement and reduce the number of relocations residents might experience during reconstruction.

Climate Action Playbook



Alternative scenarios for Sunnyvale’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Source: Sunnyvale Climate Action Playbook 2.0 Final Draft


Sunnyvale is unique in having a Climate Action Plan, which is undergoing revision. The Planning Commission reviewed the final draft of the “CAP 2.0” Playbook. The Planning Commission voted to endorse modifications proposed by other Boards and Commissions. This includes a recommendation from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission to prioritize implementation of a high-quality bicycle network, as well as more aggressive efforts to reduce Vehicle Miles Travelled. The Planning Commission made additional recommendations to enact policies to promote infill residential development, review minimum parking requirements, and develop a plan to maximize the number of trees that can be planted, which can help make the city more comfortable on hot days, while also serving as a method of carbon sequestration.

Selection of Chair and Vice Chair

The Planning Commission voted to retain the current Chair, Vice Chair, and seat assignments. Daniel Howard will serve as Chair and David Simons will serve as Vice Chair again for the next year.