A Question and an Answer that Proves I have no Clue


A Question and an Answer that Proves I have no Clue

I got a note yesterday from a buddy at UCLA, no not THAT buddy, I have more than one.

He was musing on the fact that so much parking in Silicon Valley is surface parking. Considering the extremely valuable land up there, he wondered why many major firms opted for lots rather than subterranean or structured parking.

It appears that when Apple built its upwards of $5 billion campus it did install parking structures, Google, however, did not, relying on five surface lots for employees and visitors. Apple build its ‘spaceship’ headquarters starting from scratch, while Google consolidated existing structures from the former Silicon Graphics headquarters.

However when you look at Silicon Valley, it is true that most of the parking is handled with surface lots. All that expensive land is covered with asphalt.

I have considered my friend’s question and come up with some possible reasons.

First, they may be planning for growth and consider the surface lots locations for future expansion.

Second, they have an almost unlimited amount of money. The value of the land may be unimportant.

Third, “Silicon Valley” isn’t a city unto itself, but the description of an area made up of numerous communities like Cupertino, Mountain View, San Jose and the like. Each of these cities have differing parking requirements for development.

Fourth, most of the companies in Silicon Valley began as startups with a small staff and small headquarters building. They then grew and like Google added buildings as they were required. Parking Structures weren’t foremost in their minds.

Fifth, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

OK, Mike. There’s my list. Whatcha think?


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. Land Banked Land. Why build a parking structure at a cost of $20,000 per space and the cost of maintenance that you will have to remove longe before it’s useful life is over to add another office building as you take over the world. This is the only reason there are surface lots in downtown LA, SF, DC, and so on.

  2. May be the first is the most valid point – it starts from the land-grabbing and securing space for future expansion if necessary.

    Facebook is building 8-story garage on Constitution Drive as I’m typing these lines.

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