For years, Google has faced resistance from the Molinari-Martinelli family, owners of a property adjacent to Google’s Mountain View headquarters, as the company sought to expand its North Bayshore campus project.
However, the family ended the holdout, signing a lease agreement with Google last November, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.
The lease, filed with the Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, grants Google access to the 1-acre Molinari-Martinelli property on Charleston Road for 35 years, with the option to extend it for another 20 years. Additionally, if the family decides to sell the property, Google has the first right of refusal.
The property, once a working farm established by Victor Molinari 80 years ago, was used for growing fruits and vegetables. It later served as a rental property with a single-family home and a three-unit apartment building. Despite Google’s previous attempts to purchase the site, the family had been reluctant to sell, citing a desire to preserve their family history.
As part of Google’s broader North Bayshore plan, the Molinari-Martinelli property is set to undergo significant changes. Google’s Landings project, a component of the North Bayshore plan, includes demolishing the six buildings on the property, which include the residential structures, barns, and sheds. The project also calls for removing 414 older trees on the site. In their place, a 100-space parking lot will replace the existing 153-space one at 1875 Charleston, allowing for more open space, the outlet reported.
Mountain View approved the Landings project in 2020 and, in June, granted Google approval to proceed with its North Bayshore plan. This comprehensive plan outlines the addition of a million square feet of office space, thousands of homes, parks, retail space, hotels, and eventually a school in the North Bayshore area.
The timing of Google’s development on the Molinari-Martinelli property remains uncertain. The City Council has provided Google with a 30-year window to complete the project. Google’s decision to lease the property coincides with the company’s reevaluation of its office space requirements and a reduction in its real estate footprint following mass layoffs. This includes a pause on the Downtown West campus project in San Jose and the subleasing of approximately 1.4 million square feet of space in Silicon Valley.
Holdouts are nothing new in real estate. In China, when developers build around holdouts, the surviving properties, they’re called “nail houses”.
In New York, Macy’s famously had trouble in the early 1900s securing the last corner plot of land for its flagship store.
— Ted Glanzer