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June 16, 2017

Google wants to solve the Silicon Valley housing crisis with quick-fix apartments

by John_A

Why it matters to you

The easier it is for tech companies to get more talent in, the more they can focus on making cool stuff.

Finding an apartment in California’s Silicon Valley can be a real pain — and it is affecting Google employees. So much so, that Google is working toward building a solution, at least for the short-term. That solution? Stackable apartments.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google ordered 300 modular units from a company called Factory OS, which develops modular homes. The deal between the two companies is reportedly worth between $25 and $30 million.

Modular homes are exactly what they sound like — homes that are built inside of a factory, then assembled where they will eventually stay. According to reports, this method of building a home can reduce construction costs by 20 to 50 percent. Those savings eventually rolls over to the people who live in the home and tenants could save as much as $700 per month on rent.

There are other advantages apart from cost. Because the houses do not need to be built from the ground up, they can be constructed more quickly — which makes them perfect for addressing emergency housing.

Google and other tech companies are increasingly trying to solve housing issues in the Silicon Valley. Not only is there a shortage of housing, but that shortage is only going to get worse — Apple is currently moving into its shiny new headquarters, while Google has plans of its own for new offices — although those plans may have been temporarily stalled.

Still, the tech companies that are the root cause of this issue are investing in trying to fix it. Facebook announced it would be spending $20 million in Palo Alto and Menlo Park last year in an attempt to fund new housing. It will be interesting to see if Google’s new project has any real effect and what the modular housing structure ultimately ends up looking like.




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