Google in retreat, halts construction of 80 acre mega campus

Posted:
in General Discussion
As Google's fortunes have fallen, the company appears to have backed off construction of a San Jose, California "mega-campus" that it lobbied hard for, starting in 2019.

Google's San Jose
Google's San Jose "Downtown West" development


The controversial "Downtown West" facility, was met with protests from the start. As early as 2019, activists fought against the sale of public land, and land holding historical buildings to Google.

Ultimately, after a $200 million benefits package, San Jose approved Google's project. As part of that $200 million, the development was slated to have housing for thousands of families, 15 acres of public parks, and more.

Contractors were supposed to break ground in early 2023, and that date has passed. As it stands today, it is a wide, barren, field adjacent to San Jose downtown, with mostly-completed demolition of historic locations and beloved local attractions.

A report from CNBC on Friday delves into the severity of the situation. The main cheerleader for the project, David Radcliffe, left Google in 2022. Scott Foster, Radcliffe's replacement, is described as "more conservative in spending" in Friday's report.

Contractors were told in late 2022 that the project could face delays, and in February 2023, the lead developer for the project laid off 67 employees, including people directly associated with Google's project.

CNBC performed site visits performed by the publication. Construction vehicles were present, but there was no sign of any work being done on-site.

Big tech had a tough earnings season

The development appears, at present, to be casualty of Google's miserable earnings for the last few quarters. Layoffs were the first impact, and real estate the second.

In February, the company said that it would have to take a $500 million hit to cut down on office space.

Additionally, it said that other real estate changes were likely going forward.

"We're working to ensure our real estate investments match the future needs of our hybrid workforce, our business and our communities," a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CNBC. "While we're assessing how to best move forward with Downtown West, we're still committed to San Jose for the long term and believe in the importance of the development."

The future of the site isn't clear. The company says that it could take decades to finish the project, so the window to meet that very large time span remains open.

Other projects that Google has in the works is continued investment in New York City; a campus in Boulder, Colorado; expansion of the Dulles, Virginia data center; and a data center in Texas.

San Jose stands to lose the most from the retreat, delay, or cancellation, whichever the case may be. As the report states, the area now is a demolition zone instead of what it was before -- a productive downtown. Additionally, vendors, construction companies, and contractors expecting work from the build have nothing to show for it.

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JP234pscooter63

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,115member
    JP234 said:
    Thought they could create something as impressive as 1 Infinite Loop, did they? Hard to imagine Alphabet/Google running out of money.
    Maybe if Apple showed mercy and gave back that 15 billion a year check, Google pays every year for the default position :)

    JP234kitatitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    JP234 said:
    Thought they could create something as impressive as 1 Infinite Loop, did they? Hard to imagine Alphabet/Google running out of money.
    1 Infinite Loop or the Apple Park?
    byronlfastasleep
  • Reply 3 of 14
    prolineproline Posts: 223member
    JP234 said:
    Thought they could create something as impressive as 1 Infinite Loop, did they? Hard to imagine Alphabet/Google running out of money.
    1 Infinite Loop or the Apple Park?
    1infinite loop. Google could never make Apple Park.
    coolfactorMr_Prez205dantronicJP234macxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,295member
    proline said:
    JP234 said:
    Thought they could create something as impressive as 1 Infinite Loop, did they? Hard to imagine Alphabet/Google running out of money.
    1 Infinite Loop or the Apple Park?
    1infinite loop. Google could never make Apple Park.

    Comment of the day! Hahaha!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,290member
    The development appears, at present, to be casualty of Google's miserable earnings for the last few quarters.”

    The rise in construction material cost, ongoing labor issues, inflation, and supply problems are almost certainly contributing factors as well. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    I’m having a serious case of Shadenfruede watching Google get knocked down several pegs.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Two words:

    Google Barges
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    Hard to image they will renovate and then move into this building they bought in the Loop by 2026, at this point.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_R._Thompson_Center

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,115member
    Google in retreat, also applies to the Google Chromebooks which are designed to fail, I guess the cliché is right you get what you pay for, Utter trash…….
    Are are there any high-end school districts using Chromebooks? Other than the price there is nothing redeeming about them. The Verge comment section is a good read. The tech crowd showed up in mass to defend Chromebooks.

    https://www.theverge.com/2023/4/21/23691840/us-pirg-education-fund-report-investigation-chromebook-churn

    https://www.techradar.com/news/google-accused-of-sabotaging-chromebooks-by-cutting-updates

    https://www.businessinsider.com/school-chromebooks-expiration-date-thrown-out-electronic-waste-report-2023-4?op=1


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    They are just pausing to redesign their Department of half assed ideas….. They are going to place it next to the Department of Buy Random Companies and run them into the ground then sell them for scrap. Oh! It’s going to be majestic!🐒
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,873member
    Typical Google...they can never follow through with anything before just ending it completely. They've done this time and time again with other "projects", even released ones. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,963member
    so the city sold public property, allowed demolition of historic buildings first, and now Google may back out or at least scale back. Sweet. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Barack Obama Blvd?? There's a double-whammy of virtue signaling. Siri: "Turn left on Barack Obama Blvd. No, harder left. No, harder!"
    watto_cobraKierkegaarden
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