Google’s latest good deed has a catch.
The tech giant plans to build a new “Charleston East” campus in Mountain View, but wants more office space to fulfill its vision. And according to The Mercury News, Google has threatened to block the construction of nearly 10,000 housing units if the city doesn’t approve its request.
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Mountain View City Council had given preliminary approval on Wednesday for the North Bayshore housing development, which would include 9,600 units built on Google’s Charleston East property. But during the city council meeting that started Tuesday night, Google began to warn the city that the company would not allow the building to move forward unless an additional 800,000 square feet of office space was approved. This additional square footage would build on the 3.6 million currently planned for the campus.
Joe Van Belleghem, senior director of design and construction for the Bay Area at Google (GOOGL), reportedly told city officials, “Just to be clear: no new office; no new housing.” Yet Belleghem also reiterated the company’s support for the housing, saying that they “are supportive of the preliminary approval of a North Bay Shore precise plan which includes 9,850 units of housing, 1,600 of which would be affordable.”
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The Bay Area already suffers from a severe housing shortage, which has caused home prices to skyrocket and led to heavy traffic. Google’s desire to further expand its office space has come under scrutiny, as it would limit the creation of new housing. According to Council member Margaret Abe-Koga, 2,700 housing units would be required in addition to the 9,850 already planned to offset the imbalance of the 800,000 square feet of office space requested.
The City Council is due to vote on the final plan in November.