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Google slows down on real estate

Google slows down on real estate in first half of 2015

As the region’s real estate world reflects on the year’s midpoint mark, the Mountain View search giant, Google, occupies an unfamiliar position: That of bit player. Google slows down on real estate in first half of 2015

Google, which has driven so much real estate activity in recent years, has signed no significant leases and made few sizable property acquisition in the last six months, according to a review of public records and recent brokerage reports. Instead, it’s ceded its “Most Active Player” status to rival Apple Inc.

That’s in contrast to 2013 and 2014, when it seemed as though Google was leasing or buying something big just about every week.

On the sales side, Google has been very quiet. It acquired 2367 Marine Way in Mountain View earlier this month, a building it already occupies, from the investment firm Drawbridge Realty, paying $14.9 million, or $716 per square foot. It also bought 433 Clyde Ave. and 2584-2594 Leghorn St. earlier this year. But that’s it.

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Even Google’s purported stalking horse — CBRE Global Investors, which has been buying up property in Moffett Park supposedly for Google — has slowed its roll this year.

What’s going on? Some industry insiders speculate it’s all part of a new era for Google, as the company looks to rein in costs and curb some of its explosive growth under new CFO Ruth Porat.

It’s hard to tell whether the slow-down is a trend or a blip. After all, there’s a perfectly good reason why Google hasn’t gobbled up much additional space so far this year: It’s got plenty to digest already. Google leased or bought millions of square feet in the last two years, much of it not yet occupied. At some point, a pause is in order even if just to take stock and fill it all. That takes time.

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