Much of the news in the “space race” for Silicon Valley dominance has focused on the Big Three: Google, Apple, and Facebook have all been competing to build Imperial Star Destroyer-size new HQs. But now we learn that LinkedIn also has big plans to grow its campus. And a failed land-grab by Google almost stopped it.
Google was planning on getting 2.2-million square-feet of development rights for its Mountain View campus, which would have prevented its neighbour LinkedIn from expanding at all. But at a city council meeting, it turns out that Google only got rights for 515,000 square-feet of development, falling way short of its proposed plans. DENIED.
Now get this: LinkedIn was awarded 1.4-million square-feet of development rights at the same meeting. Score one for the little guy.
The Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Nate Donato-Weinstein was live-tweeting the meeting and broke the news, in addition to providing some excellent analysis:
BREAKING: Mountain View gives Google just one building - most everything to LinkedIN
— Nate DonatoWeinstein (@SVBizNate) May 6, 2015
According to the New York Times, it sounds like LinkedIn has the better plan:
“We are doing this without asking for any variances in heights or density, with a project that can be built now with existing technology and union labor,” Jim Morgensen [LinkedIn’s vice president of global workplace services] told the council. It was a not-so-veiled reference to Google’s plan, which required height exceptions and engineering technologies that have not yet been developed.
LinkedIn also made the savvy move of partnering with an affordable housing developer, which aims to build new housing projects nearby. Google also had plans to develop housing and is still likely play a role in whatever housing plan emerges, as it owns most of the land in North Bayshore.
Not only does Google have to revise its super ambitious campus plans designed by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick, now they have to watch LinkedIn’s expansion over the fence.