No exodus here: Google to invest $1 billion on California real estate in 2021

Google has over 52,000 employees in California. It plans to hire 10,000 more workers in the U.S. and invest more than $7 billion across the country this year. In the past three years, Google invested nearly $30 billion in offices and data centers.

The pandemic devastated restaurants, hotels, airlines and retailers, but it made the tech giants even richer. Last month, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported fourth-quarter revenue of $56.9 billion, a 23% surge from the prior year. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Salesforce are also seeing booming earnings.

Google is allowing workers to stay fully remote until at least September, and Pichai said employees can work from home two days per week after offices reopen. But the company’s appetite for new office space, concentrated in Silicon Valley, remains enormous.

 No exodus here: Google to invest $1 billion on California real estate in 2021
Google’s Bay View project under construction in Mountain View.C. McAnneny / Heatherwick Studio

Google plans to complete two office projects in Mountain View this year: the 595,000-square-foot Charleston East and the 1.1 million-square-foot Bay View. Together, the two projects have more office space than Salesforce Tower. Google also will start work on a building in Sunnyvale using non-traditional wood construction known as mass timber.

The company’s growth in San Francisco has slowed, but it signed a small lease last year at Rincon Center. Google is also building out interior space at the Landmark building at 1 Market St., previously Salesforce’s headquarters.

A glut of vacant sublease space near Google’s offices in San Francisco could give the tech giant an opportunity to expand further at a discount.

Google has also proposed a major campus next to Diridon Station in San Jose, which could be approved this year, as well as further expansion in Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

In Los Angeles, Google leased 584,000 square feet at Westside Pavilion, a defunct mall being converted into offices. It is also growing in San Diego.

Google separately committed $1 billion in 2019 to fund affordable housing and recently loaned $30 million to three projects.

The company’s growth has come with more scrutiny, and Google is facing more criticism and numerous antitrust lawsuits over its dominance over internet search and online advertising. Google has denied the allegations and says its products benefit users.

Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @rolandlisf

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