The time has come for Google to move 450 of their employees into the Venice Binocular building with immediate plans of expansion that are set to almost triple the workforce and almost double the office space. Although some business owners are delighted by the possible business opportunities that could come as a result, concerns of increased traffic and population density in one of the most crowded sections of the city worry the rest of us.
In an attempt to rub off the Venice coolness and seem more hip, Google will inevitably drive up real estate prices and increase congestion. According to Thomas Williams, a senior director of engineering at Google, half of all engineers that will move into Venice are advertisement engineers. Just what Venice has been looking for: big, global corporations and ads!
The Binocular building at 340 Main St. is actually a set of three buildings with a 100,000 total square footage that will immediately be occupied by the 450 employees. However, Google also leased an additional 70,000 square feet at nearby undisclosed locations into which it plans to expand within the next two years. Williams stated that he intends “to keep it under 1200 googlers.”
At the September 20 Venice Neighborhood Council meeting, Williams was unable to provide most of the details that concerned Venetians, but made every effort to seem neighborly and accommodating. He stated that one-third of Google employees do not drive to work and tried to de-emphasize the imminent expansion, but went on to say that they intend to be permanent at this location. Everybody, get ready for more gentrification!