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Google Introduces Itself to Venice at Neighborhood Council Meeting

Local office director Thomas Williams tells meeting attendees Tuesday that about 450 engineers will move into space on Main Street in early November, and he pledges that the company will have a positive impact on the community.

"Generally, they are fairly young, they like computers, and they are really smart," Thomas Williams, Google’s Venice office director, said Tuesday about the 450 engineers set to start working in the company's new office space on Main Street in early November.

 that it had leased 100,000 square feet in the landmark Binoculars Building and two adjacent properties in Venice, and as the move-in date approaches, Williams came to the Venice Neighborhood Council meeting to introduce the company to the area and answer questions.  

Traffic and Parking

Approximately one-third of the company's employees bike, walk or take public transportation to work, Williams said. All 450 of the people who will be relocating to the Venice office currently work in Google's local offices. "A lot of people are happy because they are going to be able to walk to work now," Williams said.

He also noted that the building has adequate underground parking, even if less than a third of the employees continue to not drive to work. If parking gets tight, he said that Google will use a valet system and that it prioritizes not having people park on the street.

Expansion Plans

Google has about 170,000 square feet of office space under lease in the Venice area, 100,000 of it in the three buildings it has leased, the Binoculars Building and two adjacent office spaces. 

Williams said that another 70,000 square feet at undisclosed locations has also been leased nearby, a common Google practice that ensures the company can maintain a long-term place in the community.

"We managed to hire almost 150 people last year," Williams said. "We expect a steady rate of hiring, continuing to grow. The building we're moving into should give us another year to a year and a half at current growth. Ideally, I'd like to keep it under 1,200 Googlers." Williams acknowledged that things could change however.

Community Impact

The company is not applying for any variations from the Venice Specific Plan and plans to maintain the historic facade of the building, including the original matte gray paint on the binocular statue. It is also applying for LEED platinum certification, the highest level of environmental sustainability certification for a building.

Google also pledges to bring its employees' skills to the community, working with schools and other groups. Williams said workers are thinking about such involvement as hosting public events, supporting technology education and putting up local artwork.

Williams encouraged people to contact veronican@google.com for local programs.

He also said the company is committed to local hiring. "A lot of our employees come from local colleges," he said. "We also try to source the vendors and the contract workers locally, as well as the food we buy."

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Steve L September 21, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Does Gold's Gym stay or is it out in 2 years?
Jodi Summers September 26, 2011 at 06:29 AM
Thank you for a much-needed update on Google's landing on Main St.

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