Google Makes Moves
The rumors are true; Google will soon move its headquarters to downtown Seattle. While the move may seem precipitated by the appreciation for Starbucks and young people that the company shares as a whole, Google’s reasons for changing spaces may be significantly more complicated.
Perhaps the Silicon Valley has finally become too expensive even for the tech giants and their wealthy workforce that caused property values to spike in the first place; nowadays San Francisco and the tech-heavy cities to the south (Palo Alto, Mountain View, etc.) have become a difficult place to raise a fledgling business, and the real estate necessary for these technological powerhouses can’t be cheap.
Not to mention the widely held resentment by the non-techie workforces of the Silicon Valley; everyone from lesbian biker gangs to the Mexican families gentrified out of the Mission hold deep grudges against the wealthy tech giants that have financially phased long-term city residents out of their homes. Perhaps Google’s any affiliates are ready for a change of scene, one where they can start afresh and people are more likely to be inspired by their tech-fueled optimism as opposed to reading it as a sign of the rapid onset of the gentrification and financial turmoil that will loom over all those who can’t keep up.
Seattle may be just the place; the city’s residents recently voted down a park that Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen offered to commission after purchasing a large tract of land within the prime real estate area of the city. Dismayed and frustrated with the nature of the vote, Allen turned to Plan B, instead converting that land into swanky high rises, the exact swanky high rises to which Google plans to pass the tech torch.
Hope this is what you were aiming for, Seattle. Not sure why you turned down a free park in your financial district but if it was because it wouldn’t be generating enough revenue, you’ve definitely avoided that problem. Only issue is, now who gets to be living in your city is going to be determined on which citizens are generating enough revenue, and when there’s a swarming hub of Google employees setting the bar, a whole lot of normal people aren’t going to reach it.
Another interesting question: if Google can’t even afford to have their headquarters in Silicon Valley at this point, who actually can? Is this the beginning of tech companies actually pricing themselves out of San Francisco? Could this be a major puncture hole in the bay area’s housing market bubble? We’d better hope so, because if that bubble doesn’t pop soon there’s not going to be a lot of native residents to feel the relief of lowering prices. Already there’s been a massive exodus from the city, though those moving would be hard pressed at this point to find a city that’s not dealing with gentrification and a housing market and tech double bubble of its own. Whether we’re talking about Seattle, Austin, New Orleans or Nashville, property values are rising and people are being pushed out of their homes.