Google's Latest Real Estate Purchases Are Scaring Silicon Valley

As Google expands its tech empire, the tech giant is also buying up quite a bit of Silicon Valley real estate.

With 24 Mountain View office buildings bought in the past three years, all it would take is an update to the city’s zoning regulations for Google to effectively employ as many as 10,000 workers, the Contra Costa Times reports.

The city is expected to make a decision on new regulations before 2015. Then Google could take its recently acquired small office spaces and turn them into high rises worthy of joining the rest of the company’s enormous properties across the Silicon Valley area. It already has clusters of buildings in Palo Alto, its main campus the Googleplex, and a construction project in Hangar One at Moffett Field, a giant blimp hangar from pre-World War II, the Contra Costa Times says.

Per usual when it comes to Google and real estate, this development has some locals sceptical and worried. A community group called the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View formed earlier this year with a mission to promote “a better balance between jobs and housing in Mountain View,” according to the group’s website. The campaign has taken an interest in Google’s building projects.

Mountain View’s executive director for the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, Lenny Seigel, says developing Google’s buildings will lead to increased traffic and prices on homes. Seigel is also a member of the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View.

Still, Google’s been defending its real estate decisions publicly since 2012, when it wrote a letter to the city. David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president for real estate and workplace services, wrote that it would be impossible to separate their growing use of local real estate with a change in traffic, the Contra Costa Times said.

He wrote, “The office park development model has played itself out.”

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