Google's new dome-home wins city approval | March 10, 2017 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - March 10, 2017

Google's new dome-home wins city approval

Unique design for East Charleston campus wins over City Council

by Mark Noack

Listen closely and you can probably hear the champagne corks popping over at Google.

After nearly 10 years of planning, Google's vision to create a premier headquarters in Mountain View's North Bayshore will become a reality. At a Tuesday, March 7, meeting, City Council members gave what will likely be their last round of approvals for the company's plan to create a campus with a unique design.

The plans for the 18-acre site at 2000 N. Shoreline Blvd. known as Charleston East will represent the Google's first attempt at designing its own building. Since revealing its grand design about two years ago, the company has emphasized that its new home would reflect its culture of innovation and community.

Those values led to a eye-catching proposal marked by glass walls, a public promenade and what could be the world's largest solar array draped over the campus like a tent canopy. Architects for the company say the structure was tailored for everyone to enjoy, not just the company's workforce. They point to a public "Green Loop" cutting through the dome-like structure that will include cafes, art and other attractions. The open plaza at the southeast corner of the site will be reserved for public events, such as food trucks, live music or tech exhibits.

Early preparations for construction have reportedly already begun at the Charleston East site, and Google officials expect to move forward swiftly with the project's grading and foundation. Depending on the weather, the company is aiming to complete the project by late 2019.

Executives, architects and other Google representatives pitched their new campus as a showpiece for the city, not just for the company. John Igoe, Google's real estate director, described it as a new "front door" to Mountain View for tech tourists and other visitors.

"This was our opportunity to make this location more open to the community," he said. "We took such an effort to make sure this site is welcoming to the public."

With all those dazzling features, it can be easy to forget that the plan is for a corporate office, not a community center. The 595,000-square-foot building will house up to 2,700 Google employees, plus an unspecified number of food-service workers, contractors and support staff. Igoe and other company officials couldn't specify which Google divisions would be housed in the new Charleston East center. But they said work on the new campus will begin immediately.

It was a full-on charm offensive on Tuesday night as executives at the $498-billion tech giant played to the company's local roots as they sought final approvals from city leaders. They arrived with a large retinue of friends from the nonprofit sector who reminded city leaders of the tech giant's significant financial help over the years.

Those supporters included leaders from two school districts, four environmental groups, two transit advocacy organizations, plus the local Chamber of Commerce, YMCA and Los Altos Community Foundation. Mountain View Whisman School District Superintendent Ayind

Email Mark Noack at mnoack@mv-voice.com

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