Including 42 acres upon which Google has proposed to build a 1.2 million square foot Bay View campus (click to enlarge), Google now controls 250 parcels in Mountain View and owns over ten percent of the city’s taxable property, all of which The Verge has mapped.


Google’s stated plans for developing nearly four million square feet in Mountain View would provide enough space for an estimated 24,000 people, double its current workforce. And all of which raises some great questions and concerns.

39 thoughts on “Google Owns Over 10% Of Mountain View And Plans To Expand”
  1. I, for one, welcome our new internet overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted SS commentator I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground server caves!

  2. Yup, this is what tech valuation in the 100Bs does with time. Businesses have the capital to expand and this valuation gives them the obligation to deliver on revenue growth. It means hiring, hiring and hiring.
    For instance the other day someone was commenting that the 19Bs that whatsApp got from FB would not likely be felt in SFRE. This is just not true. These Bs will flow through more startups, more investments, more liquid wealth and more jobs. A 19B creation of wealth will ultimately lead to 1000s of jobs, but it will take time.
    I am certain Davis Campos is already working the phones with community “organizers” to prepare more Google Bus Hate Fests. But slowing GOOG’s expansion is like stopping a supertanker with a canoe. Good luck with that.

  3. lol – David Campos should be angry. If the techies keep moving into the mission, for sure this guy is going to be voted out. I wouldn’t want to vote for someone who demonizes my existence.

  4. “For instance the other day someone was commenting that the 19Bs that whatsApp got from FB would not likely be felt in SFRE.”
    Um, you misunderstood my point. I was simply referring to WhatApp having only 50 or so employees. Their purchases aren’t going to be felt. The microeconomics of their purchases are not going to move the needle. The marcoeconomic effect of the money being invested in tech in the bay area. Sure. The people that got paid for Whatapp, not so much.

  5. Rillion, I guess it’s question of how you look at it.
    These WhatsApp employees will have mucho $100s of Ms in windfall money. But these are not lottery-winner types we’re talking about but SV workers who are likely to reinvest.
    Many lucky veterans from the dotcom years ended up creating new ventures, or funding new ventures through VC outfits. It could take 1, 2, 5, 10 years, but much of this money will find its way into new good paying jobs.

  6. “For instance the other day someone was commenting that the 19Bs that whatsApp got from FB would not likely be felt in SFRE.”
    i agree with this. BUt with twitter, whatsapp, the 8 biotech companies that have gone IPO in the last 6 months, the lockout period coming soon will produce hundreds of new miliionaires.
    suppossedly 1600 from twitter, at least 200 from the biotech, 50 from whatsapp. coming as well.
    The culmination of these can have an effect.

  7. As others asked, does this mean that google will not be looking at a high visibility play in SF proper (like transbay or former sales force campus?) if so, that means that supervisor Crapos and the bus protesters must have made some impact, at least wrt the hassle factor of dealing with SF. And that would suck.

  8. In regards to Google in the city, technically, they’re already here (Hills Bros. building). I’ve read that they have large presences (hundreds of thousands of square feet) in city cores – London and Chicago come to mind. I don’t see why they would not expand at least a little in the city to take advantage of talent here while still maintaining their MTV corporate headquarters.
    Of course, this is just a guess…

  9. WRT Google moving into the transbay tower, it seems like their strategy is to grow in Mt.View. They only reason they have offices in SF is to accommodate employees who live in the city. Despite all the brouhaha about the google buses, only a small minority of employees live in SF. Google probably buses more employees in from Fremont.

  10. lol – yes but the impact to local RE would be much greater and more immediate if that $19B was being spent on a local company with 500 or 1000 employees than one with 50. Yes some of those 50 will invest in new local start ups (some of those will fail and maybe a couple will pay off) but a lot of that money will also find its way to Wall Street, stocks, etf’s, mutual funds, bonds, REIT’s, etc.
    FB has taken a big chunk of cash and put into play, the immediate effect of which is not going to have a big impact on local RE. Longer term, it will be just one of the many ways the tech industry impacts the Bay Area. On a semi-related note, I was watching The Daily Show last night and the guest was the author of a book about new recruits working on Wall Street and there was an almost throw away comment about how it used to be that the top Ivy League grads would all head to Wall Street but now they were headed to Sillicon Valley. If the industry avoids a replay of the dotcom bust I think the medium term prospects for the area are golden. I had been skeptical in the past but I do think this really is becoming a modern day gold rush.

  11. Agreed, Rillion,
    I recall a few years back during the downturn there was the story of a really nice house in Eureka Valley that was purchased almost or all cash. It turned out the buyers were patent attorneys who had worked at some point for Apple. This was not direct Apple funny money (maybe some stock if I recall), but that was part of the seeping through of all this wealth in most parts of our economy.
    Yes, you do see the occasional “I just vested my GOOG stock and am buying my nice pad” money, but most importantly the accumulation of 20 years of tech revolutions. I arrived to work in tech in California in 1997. All the people I have met in the first 5 years have flowed in and out of the big tech names and well known start-ups. Some did much better than others, but all are doing more than OK and we all have very decent net worth.

  12. With regard to Google moving to San Francisco, no! Why would Google want to disrupt the life of 24,000 people? With all these news about Google bus, one might get some wrong impression. The truth is majority of these 24,000 people settles in the South Bay and do look forward to a long commute to SF. Not to mention there is no office space in SF to accomodate them all.
    What I think they want to do is to expand their office in SF, just like they are expanding their offices everywhere New York, Chicago, London. Evidently, they are also expanding in the HQ in mountain view.
    Also according to SF business times, Google is already the second largest tech employer in SF with 2,500 employees.

  13. If you think Google is big in mountain view, you should look at Cupertino which has become a company town of Apple.
    According to LA times
    • Apple’s 16,000 employees in Cupertino make up 40% of the city’s jobs. When the new campus opens in 2016, Apple projects 24,000 Cupertino-based employees.
    • Apple paid $9.2 million in tax revenue to the city in the last fiscal year, about 18% of the city’s budget. Apple predicts that will grow to $13 million.
    • Apple currently accounts for 9.6% of Cupertino’s property tax valuation, up from 1.21% in 2001. The new campus will triple its valuation.

  14. Big Tech is bound to hire more and more as it becomes more mainstream with less exponential growth.
    GM’s market cap $57B, net income $7.5B, 212,000 employees
    GOOG’s market cap $400B, profit $12.9B, 47,700 employees
    When Google becomes more mature, it will need to have more revenue, more profit, both of which will be achieved with hiring more people.

  15. lol,
    I think it is better to look at “Big Tech” and the valley in particular as a source of creative destruction, where new tech companies rise up in tides to replace the ebbing former leaders.
    According to the California EDD, the employed population of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in July 1990 was 1.2 million. Last December it was 1.26 million. That’s 5% growth over 23 plus years.
    The actual peak was in December 2000 at 1.34 million. In that peak:
    Intel was worth $509 billion, now $123 billion.
    Cisco was worth $557 billion, now $113 billion.
    Sun Microsystems was worth more than $200 billion. was acquired by Yahoo! for $5.9 billion in stock, making Mark Cuban a multi-billionaire.
    Lycos was bought by Telefónica for $12.5 billion. At the time Lycos was the fourth most heavily visited site in the United States, had $260 million revenue and $15 million net income. It was sold in 2004 for $95.4 million.

  16. According to the California EDD, the employed population of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in July 1990 was 1.2 million. Last December it was 1.26 million. That’s 5% growth over 23 plus years.
    I attribute this mostly to ridiculous constraints on the amount of housing built. What is the percentage increase in housing costs (rents or median sales prices) over that same time?

  17. anon,
    How would a constraint on housing explain a 47% increase in the number of unemployed over the same period? To be clear, employment increased 5% and unemployment increased 47% from July 1990 to Dec 2013. Wouldn’t exceptionally burdensome housing costs drive out the unemployed more than the employed?
    For Santa Clara County in the 1990s increases in the median resale home price appear to trail job growth. But in the 2000s housing prices don’t correlate with employment at all. The 2000s RE financial bubble and burst are obvious in the median prices per the CA realtors data.

  18. How can you grow employment numbers if there is nowhere for the employees to live?
    Makes sense. The roads are full. There is no meaningful mass transit on the Peninsula. No new houses are being built. So the population stagnates.
    What you would expect is that higher-paid wage earners out-compete lower-paid ones in competing for a scarce resource (housing). By and large that seems to occur, slowly over time. Prop 13 protects existing residents, but that’s about the only drag on turnover.

  19. Let’s look at 1990 and 2010 because we have highly accurate Census data for housing and we can use the EDD data for employment.
    Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties added more than 150,000 housing units in the 1990s and 2000s, which was slightly more than 20% growth. In the same period employment declined 52,400.
    Got that. The valley added more than 150,000 housing units while the number of residents with a job declined more than 50,000.
    Do you see the correlation? Neither do I.

  20. Maybe people retired? Silicon Valley is very grey, especially the expensive parts …

  21. Jimmy,
    Retired people aren’t counted in the unemployment stats.
    The census for the two counties found the 18-64 age group grew by 178,985 from 1990 to 2010.
    More housing, more employment age people, fewer jobs.
    FWIW, mean commute time in Santa Clara County was higher in 2010 than in 1990, but lower than in 2000, when employment was at peak.

  22. What’s the difference in household size from 1990 to 2010? Again sounds like not enough housing being built, and that that we have is being used by small set of richer and richer folks spreading out into more houses per person.

  23. Retired people aren’t counted in the unemployment stats.
    Right, but they might be the ones occupying some of those 150,000 additional housing units.
    When you say unemployment rose 47%, does that mean it rose from 6 to 9%, or what?
    I’m not really sure how “employment increased 5%” squares with “employment declined 52,400”.
    I suppose of that 178,985 person increase, some is accounted for by an increase in unemployment, some employment (if it did increase 5%) and some, perhaps, are commuting out of the area.

  24. Sure, 65+ age people occupy some of the additional 150k housing units. Based on their population growth and smaller average household size, they should account for around 50k more housing units in 2010 than 1990.
    Both of the following statements are true for “the valley” (San Mateo County + Santa Clara County) according to the CA EDD:
    – Between 1990 and 2010 employment declined 52,400.
    – Between July 1990 and December 2013 employment increased 5%.
    Because employment grew an additional 130,000 over the past three and a half years. Another couple years like this and the valley will be back to the 1999-2000 dotcom peak. San Francisco may be there now.

  25. Jake, you can’t really rely on 2000 figures to get any kind of meaningful comparison.
    Everyone in 2000 and their dogs got to become a self-anointed internet wizard and moved to the Valley. Then the frauds moved back home in 2001 and only the ones with actual skills and brains managed to survive the following 2-3 years of relative nuclear winter. These are the managers and entrepreneurs of the current wave.
    Taking 2000 market valuations is a pretty transparent way to make everything else look negative. Google has actual massive revenue and still very decent growth. Apple is still printing money with the greatest consumer technology we have ever seen. The internet revolution with promised riches that we expected in the early 2000s is actually here. It is different from what was expected but it is massive, it has much more solid footing than 14 years ago and it is here to stay. And we happen to be right in the middle of it.

  26. Back in 2000 Intel, Cisco, and Sun all had real revenue and real profits. Their stock may have sold at high multiples then, but that’s not much different than Facebook now. Let alone Twitter that went public without ever being profitable. And of course Google and Apple are great companies, etc.
    Facebook has real profits. It just spent about all it’s retained earnings from 10 years of operation ($3.159B) in the $3B cash it gave in the WhatsApp deal. They still have the cash from the IPO and other financings, but essentially the set of companies that form Facebook have generated next to no profits. It has all gone back into the company.
    You are ignoring my baseline of 1990. Back then Oracle was nearly doubling revenue annually, Adobe released Photoshop, Microsoft released Office,…. There was some pullback during the recession of the early 1990s and then Netscape and hundreds of billions of investor money washed through the Bay Area.
    Facebook occupies former Sun offices, Google tookover from SGI and others, Apple is building a new HQ in what was an HP Labs complex.
    It’s great that the valley has a recycle time of 5-10 years instead of decades like some other regions, but don’t be fooled by the ‘this time it is different’ hysteria. As long as the IPO window is open, there will be some good companies and some agile poseurs crawling through it. Enjoy the ride up and don’t get hurt bad when investors cool.
    Here are some historical facts about employment in the valley.
    According to the EDD data, over the 24 years from January 1990 to December 2013, employment for San Mateo County + Santa Clara County:
    – has been 1.2 million plus or minus 12%
    – 1.24 million was the average for 2013
    – 1.18 million was the average for 1990
    – max was 1,338,800 in December 1999
    – min was 1,107,800 in April 2004
    The rises and falls around the 1.2 midpoint roughly track the stock market like the tide follows the moon.
    By contrast for the same community and timeframe, the number of UNemployed has varied much more:
    – 83,300 was the average for 2013
    – 43,600 was the average for 1990
    – max was 137,000 in January 2010
    – min was 27,000 in December 1999
    You can look it up yourself.
    The EDD monthly data 1990-2013 for each county is available in xls:

  27. ^And through it all:
    1. Household sizes have dropped
    2. New housing units have barely kept up with population growth + shrinking of household sizes
    3. Housing costs have SKYROCKETED.
    Get #3 under control and you would probably see employment increase. As it is, we’re slowly just filtering out anyone but the high income and previously high income.

  28. anon,
    don’t know where you get your info, but
    1) according to the US Census, the average household size increased in both Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties from 1990 to 2010:
    2.81 SC 1990
    2.90 SC 2010
    2.63 SM 1990
    2.75 SM 2010
    2) according to the 1990 and 2010 census, population grew slightly less than 353k in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, while more than 150,000 new housing units were built.
    3) for Santa Clara county median rent increased 12% between the 1990 and 2009 in constant dollars. A 12% premium over a generation is modest. The background CPI was 65% for the same period.
    However, for Santa Clara county median home value increased 16% between the 2000 and 2009 in constant dollars.

  29. ^ I agree with anon. As jake said, basically the 90’s had oracle, sun, intel, etc. as the big bad ass employers. And now they are meh and we have google, apple, facebook. The leading players and technology changes. The amount of employed stays within the 12%, per jakes data. That makes total sense. It’s all about good, high paying jobs in the valley. So unless we built tons of housing (won’t happen), you’re not gonna get car rental agencies, motel chains and supermarkets locating back-end office work here. They’ll be in Dallas, Atlanta, etc. and the valley will have the latest and greatest cream of the crop companies, technologies and jobs.
    The players may change, but the song remains the same (sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂 As the last two decades moved past us, wealth accumulated here big time. There are many people either retired or “all set” and living well in their expensive homes. They may have made millions or they brought a home in Palo Alto, SF, etc. back when they were $400-500k, and now they have a low mortgage and tons of equity (even if they never made it big in stock options.) I believe there are many people in that boat, and all their homes are taken and “off the market.” That is what drove real estate prices sky high here, not tons of added employment. Savvy real estate investors also made bank here, capitalizing on the one commodity tech cannot invent its way out of (housing in desirable locations.) Life’s been good so far.

  30. Well, without added housing it’s only logical the number of warm bodies would stay similar. Yes there’s a lot of cumulated wealth, but also jobs are much better paying on average. My Palo Alto and Mountain View friends all live in very average 30+ year old houses that they bought for a small fortune. It’s a sign that there was indeed a big change in job quality. The lower middle class is being bought out.

  31. The airline industry has a net loss in aggregate since deregulation, guess we’ll be seeing the disappearance of airplanes any day now…

  32. @Jake – what’s the point in mentioning CPI if you’re looking at rents and home values in real dollars?
    And I STRONGLY disagree that a 12% REAL increase in rent over 19 years is not enormous. What was the REAL increase in rent (or housing values, either one) in the two counties from 1940 to 1990?

  33. What you’allz arguing about? Employment #’s up/down/sideways, creative destruction/slow mature growth, it’s all good wrt future RE values here. Unless tech dies. Not in my life time. As I said, it’s all good.

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