With All Eyes on San Jose Expansion, Google Quietly Picks up 52 Parcels in Sunnyvale

Google is on the move again. Just a few weeks ago the tech titan announced its plans to build upwards of 8 million square feet of office and R&D space in downtown San Jose, a move that real estate experts call a “game changer” for the city.

But it seems Google isn’t going to put all of its eggs in that basket.

Last week, news broke that Google has been silently buying up parcel after parcel in Sunnyvale. Google has locked down 52 Sunnyvale properties, to be exact, for a grand total of $820 million. The properties are located on more than a dozen streets, but all are clustered close together in an area known as Moffett Park. Moffett Park is just four miles south of Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View.

In total, the Sunnyvale properties consist of at least 2.3 million square feet of space and are spread across a number of property types from office to R&D and industrial buildings.

“This is a huge land grab,” says Chad Leiker, a first vice president with Kidder Mathews, a commercial real estate brokerage firm. “It’s a major repositioning of what’s going on in Sunnyvale.”

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journalacquiring these properties allows Google to fill the gaps between its other Sunnyvale offices—some of which Google leases, some of which it owns.

Google was able to fly under the radar in Sunnyvale by purchasing the properties through its real estate brokerage partner, CB Richard Ellis. CBRE began acquiring the parcels through multiple transactions as far back as 2014, according to county records. Google used a similar method to acquire properties in San Jose, in which it partnered with real estate giant Trammell Crow as a conduit to avoid attention being drawn to the deals.

Earlier in the week, during an interview with CNBC, an industry insider revealed that Google already has 72,000 employees but needs additional space to grow into. It is estimated that Google could house upwards of 11,000 additional employees at the Sunnyvale properties it has under agreement.

Once the sales are finalized, Google will have offices scattered between San Francisco and San Jose, a disaggregated approach that stands in stark contrast to rivals like Apple and Facebook, whose Silicon Valley employees tend to be concentrated closer together.

Google has stayed mum about the transactions, suffice to say that it has indeed purchased the properties in question. “That is all the information we have to share at this time,” said Katherine Williams, a Google spokesperson.

Although it remains to be seen what Google has in mind for its new Sunnyvale real estate, one thing is evident: Google has no plans of slowing down its expansion efforts in Silicon Valley—another positive signal for multifamily investors that demand for Sunnyvale apartments will only continue to grow.

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