Googletown: A company town for Google employees

Google's corporate office front.

Keeping employees close to home is what Googletown is all about. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Susan/Flickr)

It’s been rumored for some time, but according to various sources, the mini-metropolis Googletown is slated for construction. While “Googletown” may not be the official name, the city should prove to be yet another way that Google keeps its best and brightest close to the office so they can innovate on cue.

Googletown: Built in a grand tradition

As the San Jose Mercury News accurately points out, the concept of Googletown (or “Google city”) isn’t a new idea. “Company towns” have been a part of various countries for some time. One of the first in the United States was built to accommodate employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company during the 1880s. Like Pullman, Chicago, on performance-enhancing drugs, Googletown would offer Google employees and their families sporting facilities, child care, gourmet shops, restaurants and the all-important housing, writes Gawker.

Taking inspiration from the pyramids

Google will allegedly build “the equivalent of more than two TransAmerica Pyramids,” says Gawker. The site will be near NASA Ames/Moffett Field in Silicon Valley. The plans include 180,000 square feet of housing at Ames Field, which will utilize 15 percent of the usable space on the 42-acre development. Separate plans for more housing and retail in Google’s home base of Mountain View, Calif., are also under consideration, although that would require a change in zoning laws to permit additional housing and retail. While the contractor responsible for any Mountain View projects has not been confirmed, Google will use its own developer – Planetary Ventures – for the Ames Field work.

Keeping employees on the farm

The United States’ infrastructure is such that employees are frequently forced to live far from their place of employment and weather long, gas-guzzling commutes. Googletown would give the search giant more immediate access to its valuable employees, and employees wouldn’t have to struggle as much with transportation. Considering that Google pays its employees millions of dollars in retention bonuses not to defect to other companies like Twitter and Facebook, spending millions more to keep them close to home makes sense – so long as Google’s rise to prominence isn’t merely the rise of another bubble set to burst.



San Jose Mercury News


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