- Google received approval early Wednesday to build nearly 10,000 new units of housing near its future campus in Mountain View, California.
- The decision marks a major victory for housing advocates.
- The company had earlier threatened to block building of the housing unless it was able to add more office space to its campus project.
Someday soon some Silicon Valley residents will call Google their landlord.
In the early hours Wednesday morning, local lawmakers approved a bid from the internet giant to build nearly 10,000 new housing units near its future campus in Mountain View, California.
The decision marks a major victory for housing advocates, who have in the past blamed Google and other tech companies for driving up home prices and displacing longtime residents of the Valley. The San Francisco Bay Area does not have enough dwellings to house all of its workers, tech companies have frequently located their campuses in areas without much nearby housing, and tech workers have often used their high salaries and stock options to bid up home prices.
“This is a cutting-edge plan that sets a standard not just for the Bay Area, but for much of the country,” said Lenny Siegal, vice mayor of Mountain View, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. “We aren’t just building housing, we are building it the right way to create a new kind of community for our area.”
The tech giant has plans to build a sprawling campus in the North Bayshore neighbourhood of Mountain View, a city that already hosts a majority of the company’s properties. The development will include 9,850 units of housing, at least 3.6 million square feet of office space, and a public park. (Google is partnering with housing developers including SyWest, Sobrato, Broadreach, and Arrillaga to complete the condominiums.)
In a statement provided to Business Insider, Mark Golan, vice president of real estate at Google, described the future North Bayshore development as a “live, work, play, and stay” community.
Golan added that he was pleased with the city council’s decision to adopt the plan. The vote on the North Bayshore Precise Plan – which was unanimous – brings a close to more than six years of planning and nearly three years of public meetings, the Business Journal reported.
Google drew scrutiny in September for threatening to block construction of the new homes unless local lawmakers gave the company permission to build an additional 800,000 square feet of office space. Shortly after the fallout, Google folded on its demands in a letter to the city council. It explained that the incremental office space was aimed to offset the overall costs of housing and that it was “committed to finding creative solutions with the council” within its previously planned amount of office space.