City of Google | July 20, 2007 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - July 20, 2007

City of Google

In coming years, Internet giant could triple its already huge amount of office space

by Daniel DeBolt

Google's presence in Mountain View is already unparalleled, with a reported two million square feet of office space in the North Bayshore area — a third of the area's six-million-square-foot market.

But that's only the beginning. The Internet giant has up to four million more square feet of office space in the pipeline, including plans for a new nine-acre complex alongside the company's headquarters.

The space Google currently occupies is roughly the size of three baseball stadiums. On a drive through Mountain View's North Bayshore area, one can find Google's presence on nearly every other street, including Amphitheatre Parkway, Charleston Road, Garcia Avenue, Alta Avenue, Plymouth Street, Crittenden Lane and Stierlin Court.

"They are all over North Bayshore," said building official Ron Geary. "They have 20 to 25 buildings in North Bayshore alone."

Earlier this month, the City Council approved a ground lease with Google allowing the company to build a new 310,000-square-foot development just east of the Googleplex. The facility will occupy half of the 18-acre "Charleston East" site at the corner of Amphitheatre Parkway and Shoreline Boulevard.

City officials said it was their impression that Google still plans to build a million-square-foot campus on the NASA Ames portion of Moffett Field, though the company has been quiet about that plan since it was first announced in October 2005. Since then, Google has entered into an agreement to help NASA Ames organize its "terabytes and terabytes" of data.

Google's reach may also extend to Shorebird Way, where the company plans to build on 64 acres bordered by Shoreline Boulevard to the west and Stevens Creek to the east. Under that plan — which calls for five-story buildings, large parks, "green" building designs and tall parking garages — existing buildings would be demolished to make way for a campus of 1.7 to 2.7 million square feet.

Although the council approved a gatekeeper request for the project in May 2006, Elaine Costello, the city's community development director, said last month that Google's plans for Shorebird Way are "on hold."

The company did not respond to several e-mails from the Voice seeking comment on the subject.

Workers per square foot

Ellis Berns, the city's economic development director, said the company employs about 10,000 people in Mountain View, including contract workers. Given Google's current office space, that translates to 200 square feet of space per worker.

At that rate, the company could eventually have 30,000 workers in Mountain View — close to half the city's regular population. (It's uncertain exactly how many new employees would be hired.) Berns said Mountain View's daytime population is estimated at 118,000.

Google spokesperson Sunny Gettinger said Google would not release an exact number of employees working in Mountain View, because "we don't break down our numbers that way." At a recent meeting, council member Margaret Abe-Koga said she thought the number was about 7,000.

Hiring as many as 17 people a day worldwide, cubicles at Google are said to be routinely rearranged with employees sometimes working in hallways. The company even had to apply for an exemption from the city's parking requirements because there were simply not enough spaces for its workforce, said former council member Greg Perry.

"They tend to have more employees per square foot," said city manager Kevin Duggan.

Rolling in Google money

This fiscal year, the city expects to receive $3.8 million from its leases with Google. Many of the company's buildings are on city-owned land, including its headquarters, the Googleplex and its buildings on Crittenden Lane. Google is also expected to pay the city another $5.2 million in property taxes, said Helen Ansted, an analyst for the city. The large tax bill may be because of huge swaths of property Google owns in the city but does not occupy.

Property taxes, however, go into a fund for projects in the North Bayshore area or to projects that benefit the area, such as the Highway 101 overpasses at Shoreline and Rengstorff avenues.

The city also believes Google employees contribute significantly to sales tax revenues.

"They have a lot of employees that are highly compensated," said Bob Locke, city finance director. "To the extent that those employees spend money in Mountain View — that is highly beneficial to the city's tax base."

To Duggan, the city is lucky to have "the hottest company in the world."

"It is better than not having the hottest company in the world," he said. "We were dealing with empty office buildings just a couple years ago."

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at


Posted by Paul Kinzer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Neighborhood: San Antonio Road; Palo Alto/Mountain View line.

Comment: I am glad that Google has done so well. Many of the buildings now in use by Google were vacant as recently as a year ago. Check out the former Mayfield Mall site. It's spooky. My specific comment is I feel that Google is guilty of rampant age discrimination. Google workers I've seen around town all appear to be in a 24 to 32 age bracket. I challenge them to furnish names of even ten Google workers who are over forty. Cordially, Paul Kinzer

Posted by Yoyo, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Google has become an arrogant company.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2007 at 4:30 am

55. Just got hired by google.

Posted by People, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2007 at 11:10 am

Google has many employees who are over the "24 - 32 age bracket." I've worked at Google before and it's a very diverse place to work. The environment and coporate culture is unlike any other company I've worked for, and it's not a good thing. It almost feels as though you have to be part of a special clique and that if you don't fit that clique you're quickly removed. I just think it's funny that they have this "Do no evil" motto yet there are coutless examples of Google's unethical business practices. It's not that they mean to be that way, it's just that today's US business model facilitates that sort of behavior.

Posted by TBerk, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2007 at 2:46 pm

I just had a phone call (the called hung up before I could pick up the phone.)

When i called the number right back I had someone answer who identified themselves as 'Google asgh;rthj;o' (The last part was unintelligible.)

After trying to get her to repeat herself a few times I came to understand that the person I was talking to hadn’t actually called ME but “someone else in our office must have dialed your number”…).

It seems I may have missed my window of Google Opportunity.

As regards the office space issue, I have worked for some major companies in the Bay Area (Cisco ring a bell?) and Google seems like a cautionary tale in the making; how much growth is enough? For the community or the company? Is all money Good Money?

(Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind working there.)

Posted by Mikey, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 25, 2007 at 12:14 am

Over 40 Googler here....btw, there are many others over 40 at Google aws well....

Posted by Jaydub, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 25, 2007 at 7:59 pm

I know several people who work there. A drive thru campus at lunch time could easily cause one to think they do discriminate by age. Google employs a lot of 20-something engineers. Unfortunately, most have very little social maturity, no other work experience, and a lot of arrogance. The hiring methodology has to change to a focus on people with real world experience and people management. Google will not be able to continue it's success without a change in how they hire/manage people.

Posted by steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2007 at 3:29 pm

I'm curious how many of the Google-bashers on this post use Google's search engine and other technology services to enhance their own lives? (Many services which are provided at no charge, I might add.) Sure there is a downside with every upside, but for a company that has brought life back into the long-depressed silcion valley, they should be applauded. Plus, when these Google-bashers are ready to sell their home to proudly cash in on this rare opportunity for Mountain View homeowners, are they going to refuse an offer from a 24-year-old Google employee. I bet not.

Go Google! (and thanks for the free WiFi that is saving me from having to pay to Comcast $100 each month)