Web giant Google plans to buy up 40 acres owned by the city of San Jose, California, but according to a report from Bloomberg, locals don't want the transaction to happen. Google plans to erect a massive new campus, but locals are reportedly concerned that it could drive housing costs sky-high, just as tech giants have done in Silicon Valley and the immediately surrounding areas. In order to address these concerns, Google has not only promised to build housing on its campus for employees and their families, but also to subsidize the building of some external housing in the city as part of the transaction. San Jose is what's known as a "bedroom community," where commuters who work in Silicon Valley and other surrounding areas often settle down. It is the 10th largest city in America, making it one of the largest such cities out there. This means that it is very much in the city's interests to keep housing prices affordable. For the time being, Google has not announced any intent to back out of the deal, and it seems that city officials are not as concerned as citizens.
Housing prices in San Jose currently average under $2 million, usually closer to $1 million. Contrasted with average prices approaching $3 million in some areas where tech giants have set up shop, such as Menlo Park where Facebook's headquarters are located, and it's easy to see why locals are concerned. Google's proposed campus, however, could wind up solving more problems than it creates; if Google makes good on its promises concerning housing in the area, the tech giant will actually be creating and subsidizing more than ample housing for the number of employees that its new facility could use. Google also proposed a high-speed rail system for transit, helping to solve another pain point in the city. Even if Google makes good on these promises, however, realtors may see fit to raise prices due merely to the city being a new tech hub, whether demand increases or not.
Housing crises due to new industry are extremely common, and compounded with other issues such as old-fashioned gentrification and inefficient land use, have ravaged the housing markets in places like New York and California, driving prices far beyond the reach of the average middle class or even upper class family. Many Google employees cannot afford housing within a reasonable commuting distance of their workplace, and resort to things like renting out rooms, living out of their vehicles, or even sleeping on Google's campus. This is one big issue with working at Google that the company hopes to take a step toward fixing with this new campus.