Google, Apple Seek Huge Spaces in Silicon Valley to Develop Driverless Cars

Every manufacturer is moving there. 


The numbers are staggering. Google wants 400,000 square feet. Apple is looking for 800,000. And as if those behemoths weren’t enough to stoke demand, Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes are all eyeing properties in Silicon Valley to develop their fleets of autonomous cars. The appeal is obvious: Engineers who live there will decide which of these companies rule the new world of driving.

Hudson Pacific Properties oversees much of the real estate in the Silicon Valley area, and, on the annual conference call with investors, CEO Victor Coleman put to bed talk that demand from major technology companies was slackening.

“We’re seeing the Toyotas of the world, the Teslas of the world, BMWs, Mercedes. Ford now is out in the marketplace looking for space,” he said. “I haven’t even mentioned the 400,000 square feet that Google’s looking to take down and the 800,000 square feet that Apple’s looking to take down for their autonomous cars as well.”

It turns out that autonomous vehicles are more than just a dream for driver but for real estate brokers as well. Those kinds of acquisitions represent huge commissions, and for them all to come at once must feel like something of a magnate’s dream come true. Put more modestly, Coleman said he was “seeing a definitive movement” into autonomous vehicles, which “seem to be a hot demand item.”

Even as several of these companies, notably Apple, are planning to move into new headquarters, the explicit interest in developing autonomous vehicle facilitates in Silicon Valley suggests that tech leaders are broadly unified behind the idea that these cars are the way of the future.

It’s definitely a good time to be a high-tech vehicle engineer or the owner of a couple hundred thousand square feet in Silicon Valley.