Is Modular Construction Silicon Valley’s Next Innovative Move?


Silicon Valley in Northern California is well known for it tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, HP, Cisco, Salesforce, and numerous other hi-tech household names. But even these incredibly wealthy brands can’t pay their employees enough to afford the skyrocketing real estate and rent costs, thereby forcing these companies to find innovative housing solutions if they want to attract and keep top talent.

In comes modular construction…

Google Searches For Solution with Bay View Modular Project

One company making headlines this month with its use of modular construction is Google, most well-known for disrupting the way we all find things on the Internet. The search giant is now searching itself for new ways to attract and keep their employees by augmenting the cost of housing through its “Bay View” campus at NASA’s Moffett Field. Recent reports on the project indicate Google has ordered 300 modular units to serve as short-term housing for employees – a deal reportedly costing approximately $30 million.

According to a representative of the Bay Area Council on the merits of Google’s project, “modular housing has the potential to be a real game changer for the Bay Area housing crunch.” He further explained that, “the end product is of the highest quality. It’s impossible to tell the difference between a modular construction project and a traditional project, other than that the modular goes up much quicker.”

Most Ambitious Modular Project Yet in Silicon Valley

The tech companies are not the only ones looking to modular. The well known Millennium Hotel chain which is building a new property right down the street from Google in the town of Sunnyvale is also going modular. Its new project is a $200 million, 263-room hotel made out of prefabricated modules that will be constructed and shipped all the way from Poland.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the Millennium Hotel is “the most ambitious modular construction effort yet undertaken in Silicon Valley.” Millennium expects to start the project in 2016 and complete it by the end of 2017. During a recent interview with the CEO of the hotel chain, he explained that motivation for using modular construction was all about speed and quality control.

Modular Is Part of Silicon Valley’s Strategy

While the housing and real estate crisis in the wealthy Silicon Valley is not likely to be solved overnight, it is clear that the innovative and disruptive culture of the San Francisco Bay Area is embracing modular construction as a key part of its strategy to address the problem.

The new ideas and start-up companies that seem to gravitate to this small sliver of land in Northern California are so important to the overall health of the U.S. economy, yet much of this innovation often comes from young, out-of-state new talent from all over the world. And they’ll all need somewhere to live. Luckily Silicon Valley has discovered modular construction.

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