Google's the single largest contributor to the coffers of Mountain View, where it is based. But as the Web giant expands its physical footprint and seeks to build new offices, housing and infrastructure, the tension is growing between Google and the city.
Starting in 2013, Google plans to construct up to 1.2 million square feet of buildings on the land, including offices, recreation facilities and corporate housing. The new development will extend the Google campus into the leased land, crossing public trails along Stevens Creek that are used by commuters and outdoor enthusiasts. While the trail will remain public after Google's expansion, council members said at a recent hearing they were concerned about the need to relocate part of the trail due to the construction of the bridges, among other things. The topic will be revisited in future hearings.
City council member Laura Macias told the Wall Street Journal, that Google has indicated it may want to build "high density" residential buildings on land it owns in the North Bayshore area. That "changes the entire complexion" of the region, which abuts a wildlife area, she said, adding "We may not develop as much as Google wants."
A Google spokesman said in a statement: "In the 12 years that Mountain View has been our home, we've worked with the city to give back to the community. We look forward to continuing this relationship well into the future."
Mountain View is a region that has lots of greener, wildlife and is not city-like. Google is interested in building bridges, recreation facilities, corporate housing and more offices. This will result in high density populations and lead to a different culture and life-style in the region, Several city council members in Mountain View are not happy about it.
Mountain View has enjoyed a mostly friendly relationship and lucrative relationship with Google since the company arrived in 1999. The city receives about $9.5 million in annual property-tax revenue from Google, as well as $6.6 million more for several additional leased properties.
"With Google's growth and the city's changing land-use policies, things will get more contentious," said Dan Hoffman, who recently left Google after managing its real estate since 2008.
Kevin Duggan, who recently stepped down as Mountain View's city manager, said Google's expansion will make its relations with the city more complex.
But, he added, "I would be amazed if they can't find successful outcomes."