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The public will be able to dine with Googlers at a planned new campus

Google received necessary approvals from the Mountain View City Council earlier this week.

Rendering of Google’s planned Charleston East campus

Google’s newest campus, slated for completion in 2019, has a unique feature — other than its architecture — that will set it apart from other company sites: Public accessibility.

Mountain View City Council granted the company necessary approvals for building the campus this past week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Charleston East,” located near Charleston Road, will include a two-story, 595,000-square-foot building on an approximately 18-acre plot of land. Between 2,400 and 2,700 employees are expected to be housed on the campus, most of them engineers, according to a Google spokesperson.

This is the first time Google has built a campus from the ground up, and the plan has gained attention for its architecture. Design features include glass walls and a canopy-like roof of solar panel tiles.

Another interesting detail of the campus is that in addition to giving the public a literal glimpse inside, non-Googlers will be allowed greater access than at other company campuses.

Generally speaking, Bay Area tech companies have tended to cut their workplaces off from the communities surrounding them. Employees take private buses to their campuses and stay on-site for non-work activities like private cafeteria meals and exercise classes.

Google offers similar amenities to its employees but makes its open, grassy areas available to anyone. The new campus will take this bit of openness a step further by allowing the public inside parts of the building without needing approval. People will be able to walk through the middle of the building, where they can shop in retail stores and dine at cafes also frequented by Googlers.

A summary of plans from Google also describes spaces for workshops and demonstrations of new technologies such as virtual reality. Visitors might encounter a pop-up store devoted to virtual reality or demonstrations of smart-home devices made by Alphabet subsidiary Nest, according to the spokesperson.

Parts of the building where employees work will still require visitors to get approval to enter, and employees will still have access to private cafeterias, according to a Google spokesperson. That means the degree to which Googlers actually mix and mingle with members of the public will depend as much on how the employees feel as how their workplace is designed.

Publicly accessible landscaped areas are also part of the plan. And while bikes are popular and common at the main Mountain View campus, the new campus is supposed to be even more bike-friendly, according to a summary of plans supplied by Google.

What’s been approved by city council is Google’s building concept, according to the Google spokesperson. Building permits will still be needed as the company moves forward.

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