Inside the Google Campus when you Charleston Road and walk towards the lawn where the company keeps all its big Android statues, you come across this small patch of land with a few dilapidated buildings on it. In a campus that belongs to one of the biggest technologies companies, this part of the area sticks out. It doesn’t have modern buildings like Google Building 1590. Instead it has a few shanty like structure with a couple of old cars inside the moss covered sheds. This patch of land and the structures on it don’t belong to Google.
Instead, the land belongs to Martinelli family. Google has reportedly tried to buy the land, in a bid to assimilate into its sprawling campus, several times but each time Martinellis have refused. In fact, they have even reportedly refused the big bucks — running into a few millions — that Google has offered, well above the market rate.
The reason apparently is that Martinellis want to keep the land because they believe it is part of their history. It’s not for sale, they told the Guardian, last year. “Right now we’re living,” said Leonard Martinelli, 49. “We don’t need the money. Right now it’s not for sale.”
The same sentiments have been echoed by his sister. Sandra Martinelli Bilyeu, 43, said: “If we keep it, we keep our history.”
Well, good for Martinellis but they are also apparently refusing some big bucks from Google. The tech company has built its campus all around this piece of land. In fact, the guest centre for people coming to visit Google Plex is just 50-odd metres away and so is Google’s 1900 and 1950 buildings with their red stones and glass structure.
In a way, the property owned by Martinellis has also gained the symbolic significance. Some see it as an attempt by the original residents of the area to resist the gains and advances made by tech companies that have increasingly taken over the Mountain View and nearby towns like Palo Alto.
Although Google has never commented on its attempts to purchase this property inside the campus, rumours of the offers it has made range from $2 million to $7 million. But it seems so far the company hasn’t made an offer that Martinellis can’t refuse.
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