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Google makes big real estate buy in south Palo Alto

Original post made on Jul 16, 2013

Mountain View-based Google Inc. has bought seven properties on East Meadow Circle in south Palo Alto, an area the city has envisioned for light commercial development, the company has confirmed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:57 AM

Comments (50)

Posted by resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I bet Google is going to want to build a bike path from this new property to their HQ on the other side of Hwy 101. Maybe the Adobe Creek bike bridge will finally get built.


Posted by GOOGLE Parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Maybe they'll pay for it!!!!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Oh, now Palo Alto can heave a collective sigh of relief that even though der Google & der Facebook left, one has returned. Time to get smirky again!


Posted by not happy, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Wow! Can you say traffic? I sure hope that Palo Alto figures out how to accommodate all the of the new workers and traffic on Fabian. This should be at Google's expense!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"all the of the new workers and traffic on Fabian."

1 - the existing uses had workers and generated traffic.

2 - the new uses will be consistent with the current zoning.

"Maybe they'll pay for it!!!!

Once again Palo Alto expects somebody else to pay, pay, pay. Most cities would welcome economic activity with open arms.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The city council approved a concept plan in February 2010 to bring high-end research and development uses to East Meadow Circle, Fabian Way and West Bayshore Drive. The uses would be tiered, with less intensity near existing single-family homes and more intensity near Highway 101."

San Jose Mercury News


Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Peter,

This is called socialism and it's good. If Google wants to attract our brain power, they need to pay for it. Many people around here don't want to commute.

They, along with other companies and rich people already don't pay enough taxes. This is one way to make things right.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If Google wants to attract our brain power,"

The brain power that Google wants belongs to individuals and, socialistic desires aside, not to the City Of Palo Alto. And Google is having no trouble getting the brain power it wants. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by southbound end of a northbound, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Peter: nice post, right up to the point you decided to be a horse's @** at the end.

I assumed he was joking about 'socialism', fwiw


Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Don't worry Peter, I have neither the brain power nor the inclination to work for Google. Well, sorry, but to put it bluntly: We're smarter than you guys. Period.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This is called socialism and it's good" I can assure you that no one with those views would make it past the first interview at Google.


Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:08 pm

southbound:

Absolutely not joking about socialism. I stand and will always stand by that. You can take that to the bank. And don't get me started on banks! :)


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Absolutely not joking about socialism"

Southbound end - your apology is accepted.


Posted by resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm

This area is already zoned for industrial and office use, and there have been office buildings there for as long as I can remember. There won't be any more traffic than before unless Google changes the office density; then the city will expect them to pay for increased usage of the city's infrastructure.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I guess that there are still plenty of folks who wish to make it beyond the first Google interview. I wish them luck and good health.


Posted by Done with nasty drivers on east meadow circle, a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jul 16, 2013 at 8:13 pm

We live in one of the two townhome neighborhoods near the circle. While its great that the city is attracting high tech, I wish the city also is able to make siure that those who work there come with some driving sense. Between 7:30 and 9 am and probably in the evening too, reckless drivers in a rush to get to work, run the stop sign there or crowd pedestrians by inching toward them even as pedestrians are in the crosswalk. I can say for a fact that the traffic situation (especially in the morning and evening rush hour) wiill become bad.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2013 at 6:18 am

Yes, socialism works so well. North Korea is such a great place to live and raise your family.


Posted by SteveU, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2013 at 7:54 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Good for Google.

Please explain to me how (previously) tearing down those older businesses in the Meadow Circle/Fabian Way area and building Condos gives the right to now prevent Commercial use of the CURRENT commercial property?
We used to make things in Palo Alto. That provided many JOBS for not just the highly Educated or the menial (bus them in, but don't let them live here anymore...Might hurt property values)


Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 17, 2013 at 8:38 am

I always thought that area was on odd place for a residential development. there are a lot of school age kds in those condo complexes, I hope drivers are careful!


Posted by Socialism, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

Socialism is fantastic until you run out of other peoples money to spend.


Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

Two words: MORE TRAFFIC! The changes to Charleston Road and the work on the road in Mountain View have made it take longer to get out of south Palo Alto to 101 in the morning than my actual commute to San Carlos once I am on 101. The left turn from Charleston EB onto Fabian desperately needs its own lane and a protected left arrow.


Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Public financing of the new bike bridge between the Google offices in Mountain View and the new Google property on East Meadown Circle, plus public financing for extending the dark fiber newtwork to East Meadow Circle certainly benefit Google, but if Google bought these properties before those financing decisions were made they could have been asked to help fund both projects.


Posted by mutti, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Several of the buildings on E. Meadow Circle are now empty, and others are underutilized. I walk around that circle several times a week. Google will fill up the neighborhood with potentially more traffic, but I think that's better than more of the cracker-box condos. When the new residences were built I went through the "Open Houses." For most of the units the master bath/closet is bigger than the childrens' bedrooms. Sad commentary on our societal values. And the schools are already full.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"if Google bought these properties before those financing decisions were made they could have been asked to help fund both projects."

On what grounds? Google will use these buildings under the current zoning and pay taxes - why should they be asked to do more?


Posted by SuperD, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I guessing that Google really will "pay" for their new property. I'm guessing the high purchase price will establish a new taxable value and the new owner will be paying higher property taxes than the combined seperate properties were paying. That's good for our schools and those entities who rely on propery taxes.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Woodside
on Jul 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Palo Alto needs more tech. This is great news. How exciting.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm

According to todays Daily News, mayor Scharf is not thrilled with this:
Web Link
I guess he would prefer the buildings remain empty, not that it is his business whom the owners sold to and I am sure Google does not care what he thinks either.
Leave it to one of PAs " movers and shakers" to be against business coming to town.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 18, 2013 at 3:56 am

Welcome, Google. It's nice to have you in Palo Alto.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

Great to have a profitable company back in Palo Alto again. I hope Google would continue to buy more properties in that South Palo Alto (along E. Bayshore).


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

Google can also leverage JCC Fitness Center and child care for its employees.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

> Google will use these buildings under the current zoning
> and pay taxes - why should they be asked to do more?

The City only gets about 9% of the property taxes in Palo Alto. It does make some additional money via the UUT (Utility User's Tax), and other fees that disappear into the General Fund. The infrastructure backlog is nominally $550M (although it's hard to believe that James Keene is actually doing an honest accounting where the infrastructure is involved).

Google's needs will very likely exceed the dollars that they pay to the City for services, in lieu of funds, and infrastructure. So, when Google wants something "extra"—then it stands to reason that they should be expected to pay for it. They have a lot of money, so why shouldn't they pay for what they want?


Posted by Welcome, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

Glad to see them buy the space


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Google's needs will very likely exceed the dollars that they pay to the City for services,"

Interesting opinion - do you have any facts to support it, particularly since they will be paying taxes based on their current acquisition cost while everybody else has Prop 13 protected property valuations.

"They have a lot of money, so why shouldn't they pay for what they want?"
Because their taxes are already paying for what they want and how much money they have is not the issue - unless you want to nationalize Google as part of a socialist state/city.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:56 am

> do you have any facts to support it, particularly since they
> will be paying taxes based on their current acquisition cost
> while everybody else has Prop 13 protected property valuations.

Of course the facts exist--at least where the past exists. As to the future, no facts exist--however, it's not hard to speculate. For instance, Google wants a shuttle bridge over Stephens Creek road to connect properties it owns in that part of town. A reasonable "want"--but who should pay for it? Presumably Google is willing to pay for it, but based on your comments, it stands to reason that the municipal jurisdiction that collects property taxes from Google should be responsible for this "want".

There are "externalities" involved with every project. With enough heads at a given site, it's likely that the City, or the Firefighters Union will start advocating for a new station, and additional headcount for the Fire Department. In this case, Google isn't "wanting" anything, but the City might well have to provide "infrastructure" to support the operational needs/existence of Google (in this case).

Mr. Carpenter--why not put your "thinking cap" on before you bellow like a bull in a china shop?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Joe - you provide lots of "IF" but no facts.

Since Google will be paying taxes based on their current acquisition cost while everybody else has Prop 13 protected property valuations why should Google now be asked to pay even more?

If the city is not getting enough money from all of its property taxes to cover city services then it can either cut services or seek a voter approved parcel tax - but it cannot impose a special tax of any one property owner however rich they may be.

As for the Stephens Creek bridge Google proposed to build that at its own expense because it was the primary beneficiary of the structure.

Joe - think before you type.


Posted by OY!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hopefully Google can afford to clean up this SuperFund site prior to developing this area and putting the employees who "passed the first round of interviews" into harms way. Clean-up of the chemical contamination at the nearby Fabian SuperFund site where JCC and low income housing was built is ongoing with both sites fully occupied.


Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm

"As for the Stephens Creek bridge Google proposed to build that at its own expense because it was the primary beneficiary of the structure."

Google will be the primary beneficiary of the new bike bridge between the Google offices in Mountain View and the new Google property on East Meadown Circle, and Google will be the primary beneficiary of the extension of the dark fiber newtwork to East Meadow Circle.


Posted by South PA resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

It will be interesting to see if GOOGLE is able to finesse Prop 13 savings. There are ways commercial real estate can change hands and still maintain their Prop 13 savings.

Yes, traffic will increase because GOOGLE is saying about 5,000 employees will be working at East Meadow Circle, far more than work there right now.

Time to move.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm

>> "everybody else has Prop 13 protected property valuations"

Even new buyers are protected by Prop 13 -- from the purchase date forward.

If history is any guide, the dollar-denominated value of that property will double a few more times.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

And regarding an above reference to mayor Scharff's misgivings, his stated preference was not for empty buildings but for keeping some space available to a diversity of smaller newer companies just beginning their way to developing technological marvels undreamed of.

I'm inclined to agree that it would be more interesting to have some nanotechnology or robotics or medical device start-ups move in flush with IPO proceeds or a second round of venture capital. But, as was sung long ago, we can't always get what we want.

In any case, it was unfair to paint our mayor as being "against business coming to town."


Posted by member, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I participated in a full day East Meadow Circle Design Charrette in fall of 2005, along with city planners, professional architects, design firms, infrastructure experts and other neighbors. It was a highly productive day and we separated into 6-7 teams and even had a friendly competition with independently built 3-D models for how East Meadow Circle should be developed. Many teams independently called for a park in that area, in addition to making so many valuable land-use recommendations. Over the years, it seems that our recommendations have not been followed, as evidenced by the establishment of many housings including those associated with JCC, and the Altaire, Vantage and Echelon that directly ate into the parcels in our Design Charrette (East Meadow Circle 928, 940, 1101, 1121 and 1010).

I bring this up to remind readers who are city planners and officials, as well as our general public to pressure our city planners and officials to re-visit the design ideas and models back in 2005. One team's recommended park is right on 1015 East Meadow Circle that Google bought. Google's purchase of these properties is not a bad thing at all, as long as the City and neighboring public collaborate with Google to fulfill the vision from Design Charrette. For example, perhaps Google could build a hotel for their remote employees commuting from around the world, which would not be inconsistent with one other team's idea for this location (more revenue, more sound barrier as a high rise near highway 101, less local traffic and less burden to local schools). I am actually hopeful that Google will be motivated to work with the City and its neighbors to make meaningful and positive impact to South Palo Alto.


Posted by South PA resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I attended a couple of those Charrettes and it was obvious to me that they were a whole lot of wasted time. The land around East Meadow Circle is far to valuable to just turn it into a park or soccer fields. I recently sat on the Cubberley advisory committee and I have the same feeling that our recommendations are going to be ignored.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2013 at 5:07 am

Very brave of Google to step into the murky waters of Palo Alto development. This area has been office/industrial long before the condos were built and they are the newcomers to the area.

However, what about improving amenities to this area? We have none of the improvements from when the JCC was proposed such as public transit or even a coffee shop!

A handkerchief sized piece of grass is not a park and therefore not a public benefit to the area residents in general.


Posted by Bob Moss, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

I've been involved with the area for decades. For years my office was in a building on Meadow where the town houses now are. More than 15 years ago city policy was to retain offices on Meadow and E. Meadow, but that was changed to allow housing. Considering the demand for offices in Palo Alto and the minimal vacancy rate the likely reason some buildings are vacant is the owner was negotiating with Google and both of them wanted space Google could occupy fast.

One thing that may have triggered the deal was Mountain View's refusing since January to approve the bridge over Stevens Creek to Moffett that Google insisted they need to connect the proposed new Moffett campus to their existing offices across the creek.

Traffic may not be as bad as feared since Google transports many workers via bus from all over the Bay Area, plus the company bikes.

However it can have a big impact on SS/L if Google forces them out of their buldings on E. Meadow Circle. Depends on the leases SS/L has if and when that will happen, but long term it's almost certain.

In addititon to the new higher assessed value of the buildings there probably will be added assessments on equipment, furniture & fixtues that Google buys and installs in there. Probably positive overall if SS/L isn't hurt by being forced to move out of E. Meadow.


Posted by citizen resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

"then the city will expect them to pay for increased usage of the city's infrastructure."

No they won't, because ABAG will make us put in more dense housing as a result of having more jobs here.

If the City would stop trying to remake Palo Alto in the image of San Jose, I think most of us wouldn't have issues with this. The problem comes in the form of the neighborhood(s) that will be completely wrecked because we're supposed to add more dense housing as a result of the commercial building.


Posted by citizen resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm

"The land around East Meadow Circle is far to valuable to just turn it into a park or soccer fields."

And yet, the City code promises us open space along with new development. Where is that, really? it's long overdue, and citizens should really rise in the defense of open space. The development impact fees should be paying for that, and if not, the fees aren't enough. Developers are making out handsomely, and if they are discouraged to go elsewhere because of it, good!


Posted by No more, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Suffering from Google fatigue, as well as all the fatigue from their status symbol products. Tired of their traffic, their overpaid Brat Pack, and their pushiness.

Go away already!


Posted by resident 1, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Loral SSL used to be Ford Aerospace and Communications Corp - it used to have a 6 story building where the JCC is now and many buildings on East Meadow Circle. That is as high tech as you can get. Top of the line. Loral SSL builds communication satellites. Google is just the young guys on the block. SSL is getting more buildings in Mountain View. The buildings on East Meadow are ancient and should probably be torn down and replaced.
Possibly we can get some Google people to run for city council so we have good representation on the south side of the city.
Glad that Adobe Creek got fixed up - one flood really hurt Building 21 on the circle.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Speaking of satellites, you realize that Google plans an orbiting surveillance network?


Posted by resident 1, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 21, 2014 at 7:59 am

Yes - that is why they have a new building in Stanford Research Park near Lockheed Martin. Between LMC - government and SSL - commercial - the latest 4G capability - along with Boeing, Space-X it is a big business.

You can go to the web sites of all the companies to see what great products they are producing. What a fantastic history of technical achievement.


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