|Despite its location on Moffett Field, the 42 acres recently leased by Google is within the jurisdiction of Mountain View, city manager Kevin Duggan said Monday.
Last week, Google and NASA Ames announced their new agreement: a 40-year lease, at more than $3.6 million a year, giving Google the right to build on the undeveloped, federally owned land. But that land also falls within the city limits, Duggan said, and the tax revenue generated there will be shared with the city, local schools and the county.
The unusual arrangement makes for unusual taxation rules. But according to finance manager Bob Locke, Mountain View will receive 18 to 20 percent of the property taxes Google pays for the site -- a windfall of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and possibly more, as the company develops more than one million square feet of office space as well as housing and other amenities for its workers. The first phase of construction is set to begin no later than 2013.
Local schools would receive even more, because schools receive about 45 percent of the tax windfall, according to the county assessor's office.
In return, the city has been asked to provide police, water and sewer services, Duggan said, and schools will have to absorb additional students who live on the property.
Assistant county tax assessor Mary Solseng and spokesman David Ginsborg confirmed the company's tax responsibility, dismissing concerns by some city officials that Google could get exemptions for acting as a government contractor on the site.
"The bottom line is they are going to be paying taxes like everybody else," Ginsborg said.
While Mountain View has no control over construction at the site, located in the northwest corner of Moffett Field, Duggan said the city is being asked to provide police services. The city will also provide recycled water and wastewater collection services for the project. Fire services likely will come from the NASA Ames fire department.
Because Google's lease exceeds 35 years, the company will also be taxed for the land as if it had purchased it, Solseng said. Google will pay NASA more than $144 million during the 40-year lease term.
Google's new Moffett site is just a few hundred yards from an existing Google campus on Crittenden Lane and a few blocks from its "Googleplex" headquarters, but Stevens Creek stands in the way of easy access for Google employees.
Without a new access point, Google's new employees may have to drive onto Highway 101 and go through Moffett's main gate, Duggan pointed out.
"We will discuss direct access to Google's facilities, with a bridge connecting the properties, when that project proceeds and NASA or Google engages us," Duggan said.
But this increased access to Moffett Field by Google employees bothers many Army personnel stationed at Moffett, according to one longtime officer there who requested that his name be withheld.
"The whole idea is kind of concerning to a lot of the soldiers I've talked to," he said. "Someone should probably be thinking about this at a senior level" in the federal government, he said. "But it's sort of a hot potato."
Based on a ratio of 300 square feet per employee, Google's planned 1.2 million square foot campus could mean 4,000 private workers at Moffett. The proposed bridge or bridges over Stevens Creek could compromise access to Moffett as well. Unless fences line the perimeter of the campus, Google employees will be working within yards of the Moffett runway, Air National Guard facilities and a new Army training center and reserve command post set to break ground this year.
"Based on what I've seen Google stand for, they may not have a positive feeling for a military group," the officer added.
Another Google acquisition
Google's presence in the Shoreline District got a separate boost recently when the company leased the 450,000-square-foot campus recently vacated by Alza Corp. With this last acquisition, which sits adjacent to the Googleplex, the company has now leased the entire block around its headquarters.
As part of the deal with the landowners, Google has purchased an estimated nine acres of vacant land across the street, which spreads east from the northeast corner of the intersection at Charleston Road and Amphitheatre Parkway. The city's development review committee recommended that the zoning administrator approve plans for a temporary soccer field on the site last week.
"It's very valuable property," Duggan said. "We certainly expect they will come back with a development at some point."
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