Google sets December move-in date for new Boulder campus

No construction has been watched with more trepidation by growth-wary Boulderites than Google's new $131 million campus, Pearl Place, at the intersection of 30th and Pearl streets. Now, as construction draws to a close and the company prepares to move in, there's some evidence that its execs are listening to residents worried about housing shortages and traffic. Google plans to begin the six- to eight-week move in process in December, company officials said this week, as construction nears completion. Construction on Phase 2 of Pearl Place could begin soon after. The tech company recently purchased the two Phase 1 buildings totalling 210,000 square feet at 30th and Pearl and the land under them. That followed the earlier purchase of an adjacent parcel of land for $7 million, on which a third building will be constructed, bringing the total square footage of office space and underground parking to 330,000. Interior work on the soon-to-open offices is still ongoing: As of Monday, much of the flooring had yet to be installed, including in the dance/yoga/ballet studio, bouldering room and gym. A final coat was being applied to the Bill Davis bike and ski shop, named for an employee who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while cycling near Boulder last year. There are also massage rooms, an outdoor dog run, an indoor fire pit, two coffee bars and a tavern with pool tables and beer on tap. All are perks for "Googlers," as employees of the business are called. (In case you're interested, new hires are called Nooglers; office dogs are Dooglers, and LGBTQ staff members have dubbed themselves Gayglers.) Employees in office spaces at 2590, 2525 and 2600 Pearl will move over a period of six to eight weeks. Workers at 3333 Walnut, which Google leased earlier this year, will stay put "for the time being," said Boulder Site Manager Scott Green. "This office is envisioned as a stand-alone location for employees in the company's gTech branch" — tech support for the company's advertisers, publishers and users — "and will operate independently from the planned Pearl Place campus." The new digs will by and large be for teams already in place in Boulder: international benefit managers, product development, technical services and human resources. Though there is space for the company to add teams, Green said exactly which those might be is to be determined. "It's very hard to answer questions for tomorrow because we just don't know." Also TBD is what pet projects might be shared with the people of Boulder. Green shot down the idea of a city-wide deployment of Google Fiber or self-driving cars, but said some "cool projects" were in the works that the company was "not ready to announce." There is also no concrete timeline in place to fill the offices to their full 1,700-worker capacity. Growth will be dictated by the "organic growth" of the company and "realities of the business," Green said. Google has accelerated growth over the past 18 months. In February 2016, officials told the Camera there were 340 Boulder-based employees. Green said Monday there are now, roughly, 700. About a quarter of the added positions were filled by internal transfers from around the country; the rest were new hires. Critics of the project have focused complaints on potential impacts of adding hundreds of new employees, from traffic to housing prices. Kristian Kerr, a contract worker in the tech industry, said he wasn't impressed by the tech company's words or actions. "It seems like they're doing the standard things that company do," Kerr said. "It's better than nothing, obviously, but I'm not wowed." Kerr, a 10-year Boulder resident, still thinks Google's expansion will result in "more traffic, more congestion, more strain on resources and, eventually, a lower quality of life." Google officials seem aware of the public's concerns and the need to "keep up with the community and culture," said Facilities Managers Tiffany Timmons. Over the next 12 months, it will begin tracking how many employees take advantage of existing incentives for alternative transportation, something it has never done before. Timmons said that was partly due to mounting criticism. But, she insisted, it's also just a "natural evolution" of what Google has already been doing. Workers will continue to receive B-Cycle and RTD passes, along with unspecified financial incentives for not driving. Thirteen van pools are already in place, carting workers from as far away as Fort Collins. Google also worked with the city on a traffic impact study as part of the review process, transportation officials confirmed, and the company added a turn lane on northbound 30th. The site has three access spots: two on 30th and one on Pearl. The public will have access to the campus via a bike path that will intersect it. There's also a public-use bocce court on the grounds, and Green said execs are contemplating possible public events, such as an open house, that would allow more of the campus to be viewed. "We want to make a good impact" on the community, Timmons said, "so we'll keep morphing. We are working on more specific goals now that we have a bigger campus to work with."

Date

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cite

http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-business/ci_31350848/google-sets-december-move-date-new-boulder-campus

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