A giant says stop to its new mega campus project. Google has halted construction of its new site in San Jose, Silicon Valley, which was to span 32 hectares with offices, parks, retail, hotels and some 4,000 homes, according to local newspapers and the American channel CNBC.
According to CNBC sources, the mega campus dubbed Downtown West, estimated at $19 billion in total, may never even see the light of day. Like its neighbours, the Californian technology giant is facing an unfavorable economic situation, and a context very different from that before the pandemic. According to local channel KRON4, the new site was expected to create 25,000 jobs in the region and bring in $155 million in revenue to San José.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, had obtained the building permit in June 2021. The construction was to start in 2023 and last a decade, according to Mercury News, a local newspaper. Currently, the site is “essentially a demolition area that risks becoming a wart in the landscape over the long term,” CNBC notes.
Economic difficulties for Google
The group, which had more than 190,000 employees worldwide at the end of 2022, announced in January the elimination of around 12,000 jobs (just over 6% of its total workforce), in the wake of similar social plans at Amazon, Meta and Microsoft. After the pandemic boom for the entire sector, the world’s number one in online advertising is suffering budget cuts from advertisers faced with rising interest rates. Its net profit plunged 21% in 2022, to $60 billion.
Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, warned in early February that the company would end some office rentals “in line” with staff readjustments, which is expected to cost it around $500 million in the first quarter of the year. Before the pandemic, Silicon Valley companies were known for their sprawling campuses, with free gyms and restaurants for employees. But these working conditions are changing.