Google Breaks Ground On New Office Site Amid Protest

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Most of the time when Google decided’s to come to a certain city it’s a cause for celebration. Some cities go as far as renaming the town after Google to lure the tech giant to where they call home. So with that in mind this was a cause for celebration in  Bolder, Colorado as Google broke ground on an all-new 330,000 square foot complex. The complex will include three four-story buildings and an underground parking garage. The new space will boost the number of Google employees to 1,500 and will be complete in a year and a half. The ribbon cutting ceremony drew many local dignitaries from the Bolder area, and the Governor of Colorado also attended. Governor John Hickenlooper  went on to say “If you’re searching – or Googling – for proof that Colorado is a national leader for innovation and technology and continues to be a draw for business, look no further than Boulder and Google’s decision to expand here.” The Mayor of Boulder Matthew Appelbaum, who seemed to feel the same way also spoke. “Any city would love to have Google.” He went on “Google is already in Boulder, of course, but this makes them much more of a permanent presence in the city.”

Amid all the excitement, there were a few voices who are not so pleased about Google’s expansion, and they make more than just a few good points. When a company as large as Google puts down roots there can be growing pains for all cities large and small. As soon as a big company arrives in a town, people always think of more jobs and opportunity for the people who live there, but even that is a double edge sword. As more employees come so does more traffic and because those people have to live and eat and shop it usually attracts big box, retailers. These retailers almost always push out local mom and pop stores and eventually put them out of business. Another factor is that as more and more people get hired by Google and start living off Google wages, the price of living goes up. While that might seem good at first, it’s mainly just good for those working at Google as other citizens most often get caught in the price squeeze.  Many residents of the Boulder area are raising concerns about these issues and a few others. Judy Amabile had this to say, “Google’s expansion may well exacerbate rather than mitigate our affordable housing and transportation problems.” Allison Davis said this about Mountain View, California Google headquarters.  “As Google expanded, they rapidly priced out those who had not been lucky enough to buy housing in Mountain View before 1990. A city can lose its feel easily in a decade, and I already see that happening in Boulder.”

Despite these concerns Google and the city of Boulder are moving forward with the project and in fact, Mayor Matthew Appelbaum feels a little controversy might not be a bad thing. “It’s Boulder; there is always controversy which is a good thing actually. People do need to get involved in their community.”