Google modular housing

Photo: Neon Tommy/Flickr

Google signed a deal estimated to be worth $25 to $30 million with Factory OS to build 300 modular apartments to be used as temporary housing for its employees. The Wall Street Journal broke the story and cited the tech giant’s reasoning as a way to ease the Silicon Valley’s housing crisis.

Rather than being constructed entirely on-site, work on a modular home can be 80 percent completed in a factory off-site and installed at the building site. It’s typically cheaper and faster than onsite construction.

According to Forbes, the price of an existing home in Santa Clara County is $1,050,500, while it’s $805,000 in the East Bay’s Alameda County, $590,000 in Contra Costa County and $1.4 million in San Mateo County. Other tech companies are addressing the housing affordability crisis, including Facebook, which donated $20 million towards improving affordable housing early last year.

“Anything that can help us to move forward with a greater knowledge of how we can produce housing more effectively is something we’re interested in,” John Ilgoe, director of design and construction at Google told WSJ. “We absolutely are confident that it will work. Hopefully it doesn’t become false bravado.”

BuzzBuzzNews was tipped off by Google’s initiative not by The Wall Street Journal, but by Twitter. Twitter user @LeeMKuilschu took a screenshot of The Wall Street Journal’s push notification of “Google is buying 300 modular apartment units as a way to help employees facing soaring home costs” and cheekily captioned it with: “Google begins beta testing ‘feudalism.’” Who’s the serf now, Google?

Jokes aside, cheap and fast housing is a win for all parties involved, particularly in the Bay Area.

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