Google expands plans for its massive second headquarters in San Jose

Real Estate

Oct 11, 2019

Google’s proposed mixed-use headquarters spans 80 acres and more than 7 million square feet of office space. The project will also include a major transit center, corporate hotel space, parks and taller buildings. A new proposal shows Google is expanding the scope of its massive planned headquarters in San Jose, California.

The company has formally applied for plans to build an 80-acre project that consists of up to 7.3 million square feet of office space, higher than the previous 6.5 million originally laid out in August, according to a new filing the company released Thursday evening. The company also applied for up to 5,900 units of new housing, more than the 5,000 units previously described.

The expanded ranges allow the company and city greater flexibility as it seeks feedback in the months leading up to a final approval vote next year, company spokesperson Michael Appel told CNBC. Appel added that just because the company increased ranges in certain areas, it won’t necessarily develop the maximum space.

The formal proposal comes as Google needs additional space for its rapidly expanding workforce, which is already busting at the seams of its existing headquarters and surrounding offices. The company also faces pressure from local constituents who fear its growth will further contribute to the already-tight housing market, which is among the country’s most expensive.

The company expects to house up to 25,000 employees in the new offices, which has caused backlash from community members concerned about displacement. Some residents protested at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in July, even after the company announced a $1 billion housing pledge across the Bay Area.

Since Google first announced plans for its San Jose headquarters in 2017, it has bought more than $400 million worth of San Jose real estate and more than $1 billion in Sunnyvale. That’s in addition to purchases in neighboring Mountain View and San Francisco.

This week, the company bought 40 acres of land in Gilroy, California, where it said it will grow trees and foliage for its campuses. Taller and greener The San Jose project will include roughly 15 acres of parks and green space, according to the company’s proposal. In addition to offices and parks, the company also plans to enable retail, “cultural” spaces and up to 1,100 hotel rooms — most of which will be for “corporate accommodations.”

The project will also include a major multi-modal transit center, which San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo has dubbed “The Grand Central Station of the West.” The proposed campus will also have “flexible” roadways and public bike trails that run throughout the entire development.

Google’s also been trying to get the city to expand its building height limits so it can build upward, instead of outward, which would be a departure from the way Silicon Valley structures have traditionally been built.

The company is still soliciting community feedback and will undergo an environmental impact report before taking the proposal for final approval to the city council next year.