Google buys SSL site for $70 million

Satellite maker's parent company says sale will lead to 'improved efficiency'

Google has reportedly purchased a 100,693-square-foot manufacturing building at 3850 Fabian Way in Palo Alto's Adobe Meadow neighborhood from satellite maker SSL, formerly Space Systems/Loral LLC.

SSL's parent company Maxar Technologies announced on Friday that it had closed a deal for the 4.5-acre site that sits across the street from the main SSL campus for $70 million on Dec. 6, according to media reports. A Google spokeswoman confirmed the deal to local media, but would not comment on what Google plans to do with the site.

The area that Google purchased includes Building 1, where approximately 400 SSL engineers currently work on the design and production of satellites.

According to Maxar, these employees, along with customer workspaces in the building, will be relocated to nearby Building 21.

Biggs Porter, chief financial officer of Maxar Technologies, said the company still owns roughly 24 acres of office, research-and-development and manufacturing facilities in Palo Alto.

"With the sale of Building 1, we have reduced the SSL footprint in Palo Alto for improved efficiency and have freed up capital," Porter said in a statement. "The net proceeds from this transaction will be used to pay down Maxar debt. "

In November, Maxar CEO Howard Lance announced that the company planned to reduce its capital expenditures and focus on curbing its $3 billion debt load, according to SpaceNews.

Lance said unloading SSL's geostationary satellite manufacturing business would "help Maxar de-lever regardless of how that plays out — be it through a sale of SSL or of the 29 acres of real estate it sits on in Silicon Valley," according to the SpaceNews article. In June, SSL made 109 permanent layoffs in Palo Alto, according to a filing with the California Employment Development Department.


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27 people like this
Posted by SC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 12, 2018 at 10:29 am

Oh no, the traffic will be terrible around there when Google rebuild and move in !!

22 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Hopefully they will raze the building, tear out the asphalt and let the land revert to nature. Like a park. As a PR gesture counter-balancing all the flack they are getting.

15 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2018 at 11:05 am

Marie is a registered user.

Will the site be reassessed based on the purchase price or have they done funny accounting so the property can keep its current tax basis?

42 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 12, 2018 at 11:31 am

This should definitely be a housing site!

We do not need 4.5 acres of more office space.
A nicely landscaped housing community would be a greatly needed addition to Palo Alto.

11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2018 at 11:47 am

At least they are not buying up retail buildings and converting them to office use. The SSL site is already zoned for office use. Google is not going to be any worse for the community than the previous owner.

10 people like this
Posted by Ask jeff
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Let's see what Jeff levinsky has to say.

8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm

More Google bikes is the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps, Google can now be persuaded to build the pedestrian bridge over 101 to replace the tunnel. If that happens, at least something good can come of all this.

Next thing is buses, will we be getting more and more buses and will they be for everyone or just Google people.

However, the big problem is traffic. I believe they have office space on Meadow Circle which is not too far away. There is no parking unless they build underground or garage type parking and traffic is already difficult in this area for those trying to get on the highway.

Perhaps, Google can now be persuaded to build the pedestrian bridge over 101 to replace the tunnel. If that happens, at least something good can come of all this.

25 people like this
Posted by Google Is Becoming a Nuisance
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 12, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Google is like a bad rash that just won't go away.

6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2018 at 2:35 pm

@Resident - according to the city website, the pedestrian bridge over Hwy 101 is scheduled to be built next year, with donations of both cash and property from Google.

"We're happy to contribute to a project allowing for enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access," explained Mark Golan, Google's COO for Real Estate development. "As a member of the Palo Alto and greater Bay Area Community, we want to do our part to get people out of cars and taking advantage of public trails and infrastructure."

Web Link

14 people like this
Posted by Fabian Way resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm

As a current resident on Fabian Way, I'm already worried about the traffic. As it is now, the pedestrian crossing lights are ignored, Fabian Way speed limits apparently are just a suggestion, and the increase of RV's already parked on the street is disgusting. I'm concerned that Google will simply increase the vehicle, pedestrian, scooter, skateboard and bicycle traffic that is already hazardous. Parking is a joke when the JCC has their events - how on earth are we going to deal with all the extended traffic headaches when apparently PAPD cannot handle what exists now?

9 people like this
Posted by Google and the bridge
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 12, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Google and the bridge is a registered user.

Google has agreed to contribute $1 million to the bridge, a small fraction of the price of the bridge. The rest will be paid by the county and City of Palo Alto. We should expect more traffic mitigations for this project.

6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 12, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

$1 million is chump change for Google.

Actually, I'm surprised it's taken so long for this to be announced. Several years ago -- 3 maybe? -- my auto upholstery guy who'd just relocated to Fabian said he couldn't take me because he'd just been ousted from his "new" Fabian location because Google had just bought his Fabian site.

19 people like this
Posted by Google Isn't Welcome
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2018 at 3:34 pm

It makes me physically ill to think of Google moving in on Fabian. Google destroys everything they touch. It already takes 10-15 minutes to get through that poorly-timed mess on Charleston between Fabian & San Antonio, and this was last Sunday morning. This is just appalling.

4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Realistically, how much leverage does the city have over the new property owner in this case since the property is already zoned and used for office space? Is Google proposing a big jump in the number of employees at this location (compared to SSL at its peak)?

7 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 12, 2018 at 7:01 pm

If google dropped a couple billion and had their engineers design a modern and FREE transportation system for the bay that their employees AND community could use them they would be SUPERSTARS in the eyes of ALL

9 people like this
Posted by Stu T.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm

Fabian is zoned for general manufactoring use so no office is allowed, biotech or R&D are OK.

5 people like this
Posted by SSL
a resident of Mayfield
on Dec 12, 2018 at 10:48 pm

It kinda sounds like Maxar CEO Howard Lance is currently negotiating the sale of the remaing 24 acres on Fabian to Google too?

2 people like this
Posted by anon @ SSL
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Amazing how delusional some of these comments are. Unless they tear down the building they're not gonna fit any more employees or cause any new issues than SSL already did.

Like this comment
Posted by new issues
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2018 at 3:25 pm

^ How many employees can fit into a 100,693-square-foot building?

1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:50 am

As a prior employee of SSL a majority of the space was dedicated to manufacturing of satellites which are in large contained areas. People were not wall-to-wall. Right now the area overflow parking is due to the JCC and Oshmen functions which overflow onto the residential streets. Also their employees which are directed to park in the near residential areas so "guests" can park in the assigned parking structures. Some coordination and work has to be directed to parking for employees and "guests" with in the contained areas of the business functions vs R-1 residential streets for all of the businesses on Fabian as well as residential buildings.

There needs to be a left hand turn lane on south bound Charleston turning on to Fabian - that is a major gridlock. There is a large corner there that could be reduced to provide more road space to accommodate the left turn lane. The intersection at Charleston and Louis funnels in to one lane which is also a traffic hazard.

I am sorry that this transaction took place. I thought that location was a perfect place to put a new Police Headquarters as well a fire station coordination office for the city.

Bottom line if Google gets any "tax" benefits then shame on the city - it is not as though there is no other opportunities for that location.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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