Skip to main content

Google may get its futuristic new campus after all

Google may get its futuristic new campus after all


After a property swap with LinkedIn

Share this story

BIG & Heatherwick Studios

Google's grand plans for a futuristic new campus in the North Bayshore district of Mountain View, CA may finally become a reality thanks to a new real estate deal struck with LinkedIn. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the two tech companies came to an agreement on a property swap that puts to rest a longstanding feud over lucrative current and unused square footage in Silicon Valley. Google paid $215 million for the swap, while LinkedIn paid $331 million, the report states.

As part of the deal, LinkedIn will acquire two Google properties in Mountain View totaling 460,000 square feet, along with two building leases in Sunnyvale, CA comprising the former Palm Computing headquarters. Google, on the other hand, will get a 370,000-square-foot LinkedIn building in North Bayshore and LinkedIn's valuable development property in the same district, which comes with the blessing of the Mountain View City Council to build 1.4 million square feet of new office space, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reports. Thanks to the deal, both LinkedIn and Google benefit. LinkedIn now has property closer to its Sunnyvale properties, while Google at last owns the land it can use to build its experimental new campus.

Last year, Google announced designs for a four-building expansion created by Danish architect Biarke Ingels from the Bjarke Ingels Group and Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio. In Google's original blog post outlining the new campus, it described a utopian workplace that would "blur the distinction between our buildings and nature" and make generous use of trees, cafes, and bike paths to create a kind of lush, urban feel to an otherwise outdoors environment.

"The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas," the post reads. "Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air."

However, after submitting its proposal to the Mountain View City Council last year, lawmakers awarded a majority of the North Bayshore property rights to LinkedIn instead. Not only did Google's new campus involve entirely unprecedented construction practices — creating huge canopy nets, modular work spaces, and building extensive underground parking lots, for example — but the council apparently wanted to diversify Mountain View's local business footprint.

Now, with the property swap in place, Google's vision for a workplace of the future is not so farfetched. With Apple's new "spaceship" campus close to opening and Facebook's new Frank Gehry-designed warehouse in Menlo Park now operational, Google executives are likely itching to get moving on a forward-thinking workplace of their own.