(goog) earned the distinction by purchasing the Mountain View, Calif. building that LinkedIn used to call headquarters. The $1 billion deal is also the largest real estate deal in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018. Google already occupies much of the 12-building, 795,663-square-foot complex known as Britannia Shoreline Technology Park, which has room for roughly 5,000 employees.
The size of the Mountain View space is second only to Google’s other major acquisition across the country earlier this year. In March, Google shelled out $2.4 billion for Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, next door to the company’s 111 8th Ave. offices, an entire city block the search giant snagged for $1.9 billion back in 2010.
While all real estate acquisitions are not created equal, it’s an interesting moment to speculate on why technology giants are seeking a larger physical footprint in the United States, whether for reasons related to office or production space. As has become common for companies including Amazon, Apple, and Google, land buys can ultimately mean big tax breaks by way of incentives such as lower payroll and sales taxes that cities and states offer to lure tech giants to their area.
Apple has also been acquiring more land in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018, nearly tripling its acreage in the past 24 months, according to the Financial Times. Some analysts believe Apple may be building up its real estate portfolio in states such as Iowa, Nebraska, and North Carolina with an eye toward building out data centers and manufacturing facilities, especially if smartphone sales slow.