Google plans new Silicon Valley campus with hardware division

The campus will feature five office buildings accommodating for 3,500 employees

Google is reportedly planning to build a new campus in Silicon Valley which will be situated next to a new facility partly devoted to hardware, at a time where more employees are asking to work from home.

Since 2018, Google has bought $389 million in land in San Jose, California, and recently filed preliminary building proposals show a centre for hardware operations as well as a publicly accessible new tech campus. These will be situated between its current headquarters in Mountain View and its recently approved town-like megacampus in San Jose, as reported by CNBC.

The tech campus, dubbed “Midpoint”, will include five office buildings, reportedly accommodating up to 3,500 employees, and will be built using landscaping and construction updates to existing offices, rather than completely new developments. Currently, there is no timeline for when the project will be completed.

The campus will sit adjacent to three industrial buildings that will house some operations for its hardware division including an "R&D" centre. Google has filed plans to make updates to these buildings, including adding meeting rooms, kitchens, equipment platforms, and a shipping warehouse. The plans reportedly mention "Google Hardware" and "Nest", and the buildings will also house general supplies and store items like furniture for local campuses, a spokesperson told CNBC.

The building plans of Google's new campus in San Jose

“The goal of the proposed project is to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety and connectivity between the buildings and the surrounding community,” Vini Bhargava, a Google real estate and workplace services project executive, said in a preliminary review request.

The campus complies with Google’s aim of opening itself up to its “non-tech” neighbours as concerns of displacement in the San Francisco region continue to grow. The office upgrades also come in line with Google’s plans for more employees to work in offices once the pandemic has ended.

A mockup of one of Google's new industrial buildings
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The campus plans also show it will include a new “transit hub” with shuttles, bike parking, and transit passes for employees to reduce single-occupant vehicle trips. It will also contain showers, lockers, and changing rooms to encourage commuting.

There will also be a commuter shuttle service that will cater for employees from the Bay Area, which Bhargava said is “proven to significantly reduce the number of employees that drive alone to work compared to the regional average”.

Last week, Google reportedly approved 85% of 10,000 staff requests to work remotely or relocate when its offices open again. It's believed the tech giant will ask most of its staff to return to work in their previous office locations but will allow others to carry out their duties elsewhere.

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