Google L.A.: Where Facebook Can't Steal Workers

While Facebook's had its Menlo Park dog-and-pony show today, Google seemed to stay mum about leasing a 100,000-square-foot campus with an iconic building in the Venice neighborhood of west Los Angeles today. Many say the Internet giant will be hiring several of its new 6,000 employees for the Los Angeles campus, far away from Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies' reach.

Although a Google spokesman confirmed the lease to, he refused to comment further on the expansion in Southern California. However, it is likely to become the central Los Angeles campus, according to the Los Angeles Times.The company will also likely be moving its hundreds of employees in nearby Santa Monica to the new Venice campus. (In recruiting materials, Google marketed its Santa Monica location as "strategically located just a few short blocks from sunny beaches" but Venice is still similarly located.)

The new Google campus consists of three buildings, one of which is the iconic "Binoculars Building," designed by Frank Gehry for advertising agency Chiat/Day, according to W.P. Carey & Co., an investment and management company who owns the trio of buildings. The length of the lease will be 15 to 20 years and the management company said that the property required major improvements to suit Google's needs.

"Not only have we secured a solid long term tenant for the property, but the creation of the Google campus in downtown Venice brings a large, vibrant workforce to the neighborhood, solidifying the area as a hub for creative businesses,"  W.P.Carey & Co.'s director Brooks Gordon said in a company statement.

As if to clarify Google's intentions, Thomas Williams, a senior director of engineering at Google, told the Times, "Los Angeles is a world-class city with a talented workforce, and we're thrilled to expand our presence as we enter our biggest hiring year in company's history."

So, is Google expanding in Los Angeles to prevent Silicon Valley poaching? The talent and creativity pool in Los Angeles, including its close proximity to Caltech, UCLA and the Claremont Colleges, is high and the loyalty of any new employees will likely be stronger because there's no other game in town.

Once Google settles in and cultivates its workers, the brain trust could still create an environment for talented workers yearning to be entrepreneurs. But that's years away, and in the meantime, Google could have a fleet of content and enthusiastic workers only six hours away from the more cutthroat Silicon Valley.

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