In 2014, The Verge reported on how Google effectively created its own island in Silicon Valley, which is akin to the city of the company, which exacerbates the housing and traffic crisis that currently characterizes most of the San Francisco Bay Area — the place with the highest cost of housing per nation.
Now Google CEO Sundar Pichay announces that the company is obliged to repair its broken yard: an investment of $ 1 billion over the next 10 years to build about 20,000 housing units.
According to the official Google blog post, the new commitment includes:
$ 750 million of the company’s existing office space, which Google will convert to approximately 15,000 units
$ 250 million in “incentives” for other developers to build 5,000 affordable housing units
$ 50 million to non-profit organizations that help homeless people find shelter
That sounds good! But let me bring you to reality with a few more points:
We already expected that Google will free up to 9,850 units in the backyard in Mountain View, and Google will offer to build about 5,700 units. (The company also rents out most of the property.) Google tells The Verge that the plan has not yet been approved by the city, but everything that it builds in Mountain View is included in this amount.
This is an investment, not a charity. Google says it leases this land to developers who will lease and sell objects – you know, for money – and will not limit what they do to it. This, however, does not mean a clear preference to place Google employees, and in cities it will take a certain percentage in order to be affordable housing. Google offered 20 percent of affordable housing in Mountain View.
We are not talking about single-family homes. Google simply does not have enough office space for 15,000 traditional houses, so it will have to be built upstairs. Expect apartments and flats in high-rise units.
We do not know where they will be. Optimally, Google can help overcome traffic problems in the Gulf area by building housing near its large campuses, and this is likely, but Google says they can be anywhere in the Gulf area where there is office space. Details are in the air today.
Google itself will not build 5,000 units of affordable housing. $ 250 million will help property developers provide land and permits for affordable housing, encouraging property developers to build.
This is a 10-year commitment, while Google continues to grow. In addition to its holdings in Mountain View, San Francisco and, as a rule, in 24 of the 50 US states, the company plans to create a new giant campus in San Jose.
If you want to get a better idea of what kind of relationship Google may have with the Bay Area, take a look at the North Bayshore transformation company (this is the part of Mountain View that Google basically takes) with housing, 77 million dollars For transportation, as well as parks, schools and more. There are also frequently asked questions about North Bayshore that you may want to read – they explain why Google offers 5,700 units, not 9,850.
But you might also think about how Google tried to use housing as a bargaining fee to get more office space in the Bay Area, and about the damage that large companies, such as Google, can do if they abandon a large infrastructure project. early.