Developer starts work on 410,000-square-foot Butterfield 5 project for industrial companies

Photo by Robert Airoldi
The land north of downtown Morgan Hill where Trammell Crow will build the Butterfield 5 Technology Park designed for industrial users.

By Robert Airoldi

While Trammell Crow has broken ground on its Butterfield 5 project, the developer awaits the results of a discussion between the city and the Morgan Hill Responsible Growth Coalition to arrive at a compromise on a revised ordinance that could impact a second project in town.

The project in question, now known at Redwood [email protected], has been significantly changed after the developer pulled it original project know at the “Morgan Hill Technology Park” Sept. 18, 2020. The new project, located on the former Tree Farm, east of U.S. 101 south of Cochrane Road, calls for 501,314 square feet of flexible industrial/commercial space for the southernmost 29 acres bordered by Half Road and De Paul Drive. It has smaller buildings, significantly less industrial use, fewer dock doors and encompasses just half the total site acreage.

The MHRGC have been collecting signatures since September and have successfully collected the required number for a petition for a new ordinance that would prohibit new construction of industrial buildings in Morgan Hill that are larger than 75,000 square feet, ceilings higher than 24 feet over more than 25 percent of the building and more than one dock per 25,000 square feet.

Councilmembers have repeatedly said they are also opposed to distribution centers and city staff have proposed alternatives to the MHRGC initiative and in October the city council unanimously approved prohibiting all distribution centers. In February they held a workshop seeking other ways to regulate these “last mile delivery” facilities.

The MHRGC and the general public say the increased noise and environmental impacts as well as more truck traffic would negatively impact the quality of life. In addition, the facilities do not provide the quality of jobs or tax revenue that other types of manufacturers would bring, opponents say.

At the March 3 city council meeting, the city council unanimously certified the MHRGC’s petition. It has been signed by more than 3,500 Morgan Hill voters. They needed at least 2,624 signatures (or 10 percent of registered voters).

Now the city council has until April 7 to adopt the initiative as a city ordinance or agree to place it on the 2022 ballot. An impact study is underway. Councilmembers John McKay, Rich Constantine and Yvonne Martinez Beltran voted for the study. Gino Borgioli and Rene Spring instead asked the council to adopt the initiative as is.

Meanwhile, Trammell Crow is currently building the Butterfield 5 Technology Park that will span 410,076 square feet and include five buildings that are suited for industrial users. It is located at the northwest corner of Digital Drive and Butterfield Boulevard. It is scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of next year.

“The Butterfield 5 project is a major investment in Morgan Hill and incorporates leading design features within a modern technology park,” said Will Parker, principal of Trammell Crow’s Northern California Business Unit. “We are excited to move this development forward, as the project addresses a unique segment of the market with its small- and medium-sized buildings.”

The buildings will range from 70,280 square feet to 91,738 square feet and are designed to accommodate companies that need as little as 35,000 square feet of space. Features will include prominent glass entries, extensive landscaping, clear heights ranging from 28 to 32 feet, and convenient access to U.S. 101.

Robert Airoldi