MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google has been on an astonishing real estate spree in the last several years, buying or leasing dozens of buildings across a wide swath of the south Bay Area in California.
What’s even more astonishing: It’s been adding space even though it has not filled buildings it has, giving the company the flexibility to expand its large Bay Area workforce by nearly 30,000 workers.
“I’ve never seen anything like this sort of expansion from any one company,” said Phil Mahoney, a broker with commercial realty firm Cornish & Carey.
The office space boom has been going on for a few years. The San Jose Mercury News was the first to report that Google had established its first Silicon Valley presence outside its Mountain View home base in 2011, when it signed a mammoth lease in Sunnyvale. Google has bought a slew of older office buildings, potentially to tear them down and build first-class office space for its workers.
But its acquisition spree seems to have intensified. In one of the most recent deals, Google leased an entire office project that’s still under construction in Sunnyvale. That totaled 1.9 million square feet, and commercial real estate experts say they can’t recall an office lease larger than that in California in at least 15 years. Separately, Google recently bought a six-building office complex in Redwood City totaling 934,000 square feet. Google provided no dollar amount for the deals. Both transactions were initially reported by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Google intends to occupy both projects, said Meghan Casserly, a Google spokeswoman.
Some real estate industry insiders familiar with Google’s hiring plans say the tech titan intends to hire 5,000 workers in the Bay Area a year for at least the next five years. Google does not disclose the size of its Bay Area workforce, but it had 55,000 employees globally as of Sept. 30.