There's a mad land grab in Mountain View, California, and Google and its neighbor LinkedIn are at the heart of it.
The two tech giants, along with five other parties, all submitted plans to develop 5.8 million square feet in North Bayshore. The problem is that the city of Mountain View only has 2.2 million square feet of new development to allocate.
In a surprise turn last week, it looks like it might be part of Google's campus that is left behind, including the largest building in its new planned campus, which is designed as a series of domes.
In a report to city council, Mountain View city staff recommended two out of the four sites in Google's futuristic campus design should "not move forward" since they are being studied as potential housing sites. The housing report won't be issued until the fall, so it's up to the Mountain View city council to decide tomorrow whether to move ahead with the other projects submitted — which includes the lion's share of the land for LinkedIn — or wait until the housing study comes out.Cuts have to be made
In December, LinkedIn made a bold play of snatching up a $79 million plot of land in an area of Mountain View known as "North Bayshore." It's been a point of contention, as Google and LinkedIn both want to expand in the neighborhood near their current campuses.
To control the area's growth, the Mountain View City Council initially capped building net new development at a maximum of 3.3 million square feet as part of the North Bayshore Precise Plan. However, 1.1 million of it is already spoken for, leaving 2.2 million square feet of office development up for grabs, and two tech giants vying for it.
Google's proposal alone would have eaten it all up.
The four buildings it filed plans for call for approximately 2.34 million square feet in net new development. But, Google wasn't the only one to apply.
LinkedIn's campus proposal, in development with Sywest Group, includes 1.6 million square feet of office space, a movie theater, and health club. Several other contenders also want in to develop their own office parks or hotels in the coveted North Bayshore.It's about more than desks
The squeeze isn't just on office space though.
Google has long been an advocate for housing in the North Bayshore area — something that was not included in the city's original plan that was passed in December. A new city council voted in April to evaluate housing, an action Google was in favor of, said city communications coordinator Shonda Ranson.
According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, LinkedIn claimed the toxicity of its location was not good for housing and advocated against it. (Google did not have a comment for the story. LinkedIn did not respond to request for comment.)
That may end up as LinkedIn's golden ticket to development. Its location was not placed on the housing list and met the rest of the criteria established by the city.
On the other hand, Google had two locations, including its 1 million square foot dome Charleston South, on the housing list. Last week's report included a recommendation that these projects "not move forward" at this time.
The city staff report does not formally rule out those under housing studies, but prioritizes the list for the council since there are too many proposals and not enough space, said Ranson.LinkedIn may walk away the winner
If the city council follows the report's priorities, LinkedIn will take the bounty of the land with 1.6 million square feet. Google, in comparison, would only net 600,000 square feet for its Landings and Huff sites, a far cry from the 2.3 million it requested.
If approved, the Google Landings building is for a figure-eight shaped dome that is eight stories and features two levels of underground parking. Google's Huff site is the smallest dome at five stories.
LinkedIn would build a Googleplex of its own. The plan calls for a hotel, retail stores, a movie theater and six 8-story office buildings. It's also supposed to be powered by geothermal energy and build a pedestrian/bike bridge for the city.
As cool as geothermal mini towns and domed villages sounded, there was no way both Google and LinkedIn could coexist as-is from when they submitted their plans in February. There's always been too little space to go around. Someone will have to go back to the drawing board, if not both. Tomorrow, we'll know who.
Here's the video presentation of Google's plans:
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