Google expands into Stanford Research Park

Thermostat and smoke-alarm company Nest replacing Barnes and Noble's Nook

Mountain View-based Google is continuing its quiet expansion into Palo Alto, with two new Stanford Research Park spaces joining the seven properties it purchased on East Meadow Circle in 2013.

Google's most recent lease is an office complex at 3400 Hillview Ave., where it's moving in Nest, the "smart" thermostat and smoke-alarm company acquired by Google earlier this year. Nest will soon occupy two of the complex's five buildings, according to building permits submitted to the city planning department this week.

The buildings are currently occupied by Nook, Barnes and Noble's electronic-book division.

Integral, a company that provides banks and other financial institutions with software for foreign trading and risk management, also currently operates out of the 3400 Hillview Ave. complex.

DES Architects + Engineers in Redwood City is listed as the project architect on a demolition permit application. The firm applied for the permit to knock down some interior non-structural walls for future improvements, according to project documents.

DES Architects + Engineers did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Though the office complex is on Stanford land, it is one of several Stanford Research Park properties that the university subleases to another entity, which in this case is commercial real estate firm CBRE. CBRE declined to comment on the new lease with Google.

"Stanford is excited that Google has decided to locate here in the research park again," said Tiffany Griego, director of asset management for Stanford Research Park.

"It's a really strong time, and there's a lot of interest in being located in Palo Alto," she added, citing the research park's 3 percent vacancy rate.

This spring, Google also quietly took over the second floor of 975 California Ave., another research-park property that Stanford subleases. Google applied for minor tenant improvements for the 27,000 square-foot-top floor in February; they were approved March 27, according to city planning documents.

Nest is currently located close by in the research park at 900 Hansen Way. The company makes smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and "learning" thermostats that can be programmed to one's schedule, controlled via a smartphone app and reputedly slash energy bills.

Google announced it planned to purchase the startup for $3.2 billion in January; the deal closed the next month.

Google did not return requests for comment on the new Palo Alto leases.

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Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

The questions this report doesn't cover is how do the employees working in these buildings get around all the Google facilities?

Does Google provide the Google Bikes at these offices. Are there shuttles so that the employees can get to meetings, gyms, child care centre, cafeteria, sports fields, etc.? Or, are these Google offices supposed to be stand alone facilities that all employees will drive to?

Is Google going to offer some type of Marguerite style shuttles from Mountain View to East Meadow to Stanford Park? Are these shuttles going to be available for other people other than Google employees to use?

Google is trying to do more in Mountain View, but the MTV council seems to be stopping them from innovative ideas to help with transportation. Is the PA council going to assist any better?

Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

> innovative ideas to help with transportation

Perhaps it's time for Google to start using video conferencing so that people in Palo Alto don't have to shuttle down to MV as much as they would have without video conferencing.

Sure, some direct person-to-person interactions are necessary, but email, IM (Instant Messaging) and VC (Video Chat) should be more than enough to reduce the need to physically go back-and-forth.

Google has been pushing the Internet more than just about any other company in the world. Let's see how they use it to reduce traffic between their headquarters and this remote site.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:22 am

Wayne, whereas I respect your post above, as I mentioned in my post, it is not just the meetings that Google employees will want to get to Mountain View for but the other facilities. The childcare, the gyms, the movie theaters, the sports facilities, etc. The reason so many 20 somethings like working for Google is all the perks they get, and unless they can get to Mountain View for the perks, they will not want to work in the remote sites.

Getting the employees to the campus will require more than just technology advances.

Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:43 am

> Getting the employees to the campus will require more
> than just technology advances.

Perhaps. Childcare is something that can be easily provided on any remote site, providing that there is much need. I've never seen any stats on how many Google employees actually us on-site child care, so maybe someone with some knowledge of that particularly benefit might help out.

Other benefits--like their highly-vaunted cafeteria is probably too far away for people to want to shuttle back and forth for on a daily basis. And it's not that hard to cater to a remote site from either the Google kitchens, or local caterers.

My argument is that Google has gone a long way to turn the world upside down--so why can't they do something truely innovative to help reduce the traffic in Palo Alto?

Will be interesting to see if they can somehow figure out how to use their self-driving cars to move people back and forth, when face-2-face interactions are needed.

Like this comment
Posted by Googled Out
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:45 am

Many people feel like Google has become an overbearing, giant monopoly monster. We would like to see less of them in the community, not more. They are all about. toning but conspicuous consumption and "Vebelein Goods".

Go away, Google. You have too much conspicuous presence here.

Like this comment
Posted by Book Reference
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

The Circle is getting bigger. It's getting closer to completion. ; ) (for anyone who has read this book you'll know what this means)

Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

I think its excellent that Google are integrating more of their operations into Palo Alto. Although there will be increases in traffic the overall effect will be positive. I believe we should welcome the move and encourage others such as Facebook to do the same.

Like this comment
Posted by JT-SV
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Just FYI, Google's childcare facilities are not onsite. One is in Palo Alto, two are in Mtn View (not the north Shoreline area), and one is in Sunnyvale. As for gyms and cafeterias, I would imagine Google will include exercise and eating facilities at the new location on Hillview Ave. Lastly, Googlers use Video Chat all the time. And, why are so many against Google; it's a fantastic company and has helped this area become what it is .... and, yeah, that includes some negatives such as traffic congestion ... but at least we are thriving here in Silicon Valley! So, quit complaining!

Like this comment
Posted by TechDude
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I work in Palo Alto, not live. I and lots of other folks I know are not at all happy with the additional traffic, it does us more pain then good.

Gethin, just a quick fact; Facebook moved out of Palo Alto in recent years to Menlo Park (old Sun campus), they are not likely to come back anytime soon.

Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Google has become and will be one of the most powerful companies in the world. You prefer them elsewhere then in our backyard?? You're kidding right?!

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Google is not expanding into places that were empty before, they are moving into previously occupied spaces. Why would they bring more traffic than the previous occupants. I think they are likely to bring less. Google is paying for the planning work for a number of bike improvements in Palo Alto because their employees, as well as other residents, will benefit from them. Personally, I would rather see Google in the Stanford Research Park than a bunch of lawyers and financial companies. How many of those employees are going to bike or take the train?

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

To the traffic worriers: Google is moving into existing office space, not new/expanded space. Connect the dots: they are replacing the previous tenants (and presumably their cars, etc.). Add in that Google buses many of their employees to work, I am failing to buy into the "traffic apocalypse" claim in this instance.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I understand indulging the fantasy of "Haha, I wish I was the only one on the road!" but are people actually suggesting we base policy on something so petty? Like, it should up to public opinion on how many employees Google is allowed to hire? I hope you wouldn't want the same standards applied to your company or employer, its not like you have any more inherent right to use the road than someone else.

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I work in Palo Alto where Nest Labs is located on Hansen. Google does wonderful things, we all appreciate how innovative and exceptional some of these products are. However working in the same area provides challenges. They do provide their staff with Google bikes which they ride in circles while on their cell phones, not paying attention to anyone else. Nest Labs also feeds their employees lunch and their employees walk through bushes right in front of cars. They treat the parking lot like a park and just ignore safety, I have had so many colleagues worry they might hit one these Nest Lab employees. So yes, having Google in Palo Alto has it benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. I just wish there employees would pay better attention to their surrounds. And now in order for Nest Labs to use their parking lot efficiently they now have valet parking. Cars parked along an exit still make it difficult getting in and out of the complexes on Hansen. If they plan on doing any work to these buildings in Palo Alto this is going to be a nightmare.

Like this comment
Posted by BringBacktheHorse
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

Want to see Google do something truly innovative? Let them bring back the horse!

orses are 100% sustainable transportation. They eat grass and they poop fertilizer. A pair of gentle-giant Clydesdale horses would have no trouble pulling an air conditioned, wifi-enabled and solar-powered carriage. As we all know they used to pull fire trucks, stage coaches and beer wagons.

With wifi and webex, who needs to be in a hurry to get anywhere? Probably 20% of all Silicon Valley employees, on any given day, are working from home anyway. So why not take a leisurely ride into work? Recycling and native grasses are great, but it's time for our 20-something "green" generation to take their beliefs to the next step.

Google could lead the way here. There's a huge horse ranch right off Coyote Hill road, ample space for stabling horses. Caring for and driving the horses would provide employment for young people, and BTW horses can wear special bags that collect their waste without anyone ever seeing it.

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