Need Shelter? Just Google It…

At the Melbourne Apartments in Des Moines, a one-bedroom place rents for $565 per month.

Maybe Google should have its own Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. After all, somebody there seems very into giving shelter, not only to company employees but to other deserving folks as well.

Back in November, I wrote about Google’s expanding California real-estate holdings, which amounted to over 4 million square feet. The company had also just announced plans for a new corporate campus that would include housing for employees. Residences there could take up 10% of the new campus’s space, meaning perhaps 60 2,000-sq.-ft. dwellings, according to The Silicon Valley Mercury News. It seemed to represent the latest evolution of the company town.

Then today there appeared a report in The New York Times, telling how Google was investing in low-income housing in far-away Des Moines, Iowa.

This endeavor may simply represent a smart investment: The Times says the sale of federal low-income-housing tax credits allows investors to reduce their federal tax burden. “If you can buy $1 worth of tax credit for 59 cents, you are getting a [good] return on your investment,” the article notes. In addition to Google, other investors include Verizon and insurers Liberty Mutual and Allstate.

All the same, Google’s investments amount to $86 million poured into 480 apartments for low-income renters in the Midwest and California. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

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