As Apple continues with the construction of its gargantuan ‘spaceship’ campus in Cupertino, less than 10 miles away Google is apparently on the verge of announcing plans for a brand new structure of its own close to its current base in Mountain View, about 40 miles south of San Francisco.
The building is set to become the new headquarters for the Web giant, though according to a report in the New York Times this week, the ambitious project is already causing concern among locals.
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Little is currently known about what the company is cooking up, though full details are expected to be submitted to the local council on Friday. The Times talks of “a series of canopy-like structures” designed by Heatherwick Studio, a London-based design firm that gained attention for its unique Olympic caldron at London 2012, and acclaimed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.
Google arrived in Mountain View in 1999 with just 12 employees. In 16 years, the local workforce has expanded to 20,000, making the company the city’s biggest employer.
“Google owns or leases about 7.3 million square feet of office space in Mountain View — roughly equivalent to three Empire State Buildings,” the Times says in its report.
Talk of Google’s desire to take up more land and hire additional personnel is worrying some local residents, who fear the city’s infrastructure will be unable to handle the increase in traffic, workers, and residents. The issue of how much new housing Mountain View needs, and where it should be built, is already a hotly debated topic in the city.
In a bid to ease traffic congestion, Google has for some time been running employees to and from work on buses. However, the vehicles have, in the past, become the focal point for protesters concerned that the vast wealth created by Google, as well as other giants in Silicon Valley such as Apple and Facebook, is failing to find its way back into local communities.
Those opposed to further expansion by tech firms say that highly paid employees in the area have helped to push up house prices, rents, and living costs, making some parts of the region too pricey for long-time residents.
But Google, which for its part pays plenty into city coffers and puts the place on the map, seems intent on remaining in Mountain View, with plans for ‘Googleplex 2’ expected to be unveiled at the end of this week.