Posted in Menacing Monopoly

Monster of Mountain View? How about just Mountain View Monster? Google seeks town takeover

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Mountain View is running out of space for companies that aren't named Google:

Google's aggressive online growth increasingly has a counterpart in bricks and mortar, with the company's Mountain View headquarters mushrooming in the past four years to occupy more than 4 million square feet, or the equivalent of about 40 Home Depot stores.

But that's just a start. On Silicon Valley's NASA base, Google is preparing to build a new corporate campus with fitness and day care facilities and — in a first in the valley — employee housing, adding 1.2 million square feet of space to Google's real estate holdings.

Although other valley giants also occupy vast amounts of real estate, Google is growing in a way that is distinct, remaking its surroundings according to its own values. In addition to buying and leasing buildings and squeezing out some of its neighbors, it is prodding the city of Mountain View to transform the area around its headquarters, adding housing and retail to create an environment more like a town center.

The Monster of Mountain View's appetite for land and office space is resulting in a loss of economic diversity in town, as other tech firms migrate elsewhere:

Phil Mahoney, executive vice president with Cornish & Carey, recently relocated the semiconductor company MIPS Technologies to Sunnyvale, “as much as anything, getting out of Google's way.”

“The handwriting is on the wall. You don't want to compete with them for space,” Mahoney said. “In real estate circles, it's called 'the Google effect.' “

Google is so hungry for space it's willing to pay to get rid of tenants so it can use every bit of space in buildings it has purchased.

Other businesses feel pressured by Google's expansion, like Colin McDowell's McDSP, a tiny atoll bobbing in the Googley ocean.

McDSP's 1,682-square-foot office is now the only non-Google space in 1300 Crittenden Lane, a 115,000-square-foot building that Google bought in 2006 as part of a $319 million deal that also included the core Googleplex. McDowell, the CEO of the six-person audio-technology company, has a lease through 2014, but Google wants him out now. McDowell hasn't wanted to move, saying the rent is good and the offices are close to Shoreline Amphitheatre, where professional musicians frequently need McDSP's services on short notice.

As he enters his office each day and peers through a glass window into a Google break room replete with a Google-logo espresso maker, racks of candy, snacks and an often boisterous foosball table, McDowell says he can't help but feel a hint of jealousy.

“Could you just not flaunt it so bad?” he says of his landlord. “Not right in our face?”

Mercy? From Google? Fuhgetaboutit.