REAL ESTATE

Google Buying London Office for $1B After Record NYC Purchase

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer, Alphabet in front of 1 St Giles High St, London WC2H 8AG, United Kingdom (Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons/Prioryman)

Hey Google, who’s the biggest believer in the future of office space?

The tech company’s recent purchases would likely earn it the first result. The Wall Street Journal reported the company is planning to spend $1 billion on Central Saint Giles, a London office property near the British Museum it was already using.

The property sits about a mile and a half from where Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is constructing a headquarters next to King’s Cross train station.

Google employs 6,400 people in the United Kingdom, according to the Journal. In the coming years, the company will be able to employ 10,000 people in the country.

Google’s London purchase comes nearly five months after a stateside deal made waves in the American office market. The company announced in September it was purchasing its offices at 550 Washington Street — which the company was already leasing — for $2.1 billion, marking the biggest office sale in the United States since the onset of the pandemic.

The purchase of St. John’s Terminal from Oxford Properties is slated to take place in the first quarter of 2022.

Alphabet previously announced a plan to have about 20 percent of employees in the United States work from home permanently. But the company’s recent big-ticket investments in office real estate suggest its faith that the future will have at least a partial need for offices.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has positioned Google to adopt a hybrid work situation, where employees would come into the office three times a week. The company expected to bring employees back to the office on a regular basis this week, but was forced to scuttle those plans due to the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

As it stands, the company doesn’t have a definitive return-to-office plan in the works, only vowing to wait until later in the year to reassess the situation, according to the Journal. Meanwhile, it continues to encourage employees to voluntarily go into the office where conditions allow.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner

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