Bucking the trend for some U.S. service corporations to embrace a work-from-home (WFH) model, Google is buying a Manhattan office building with a total of 1.3 million square feet on the West Side for $2.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Google says it will exercise its option to make the purchase in the first quarter of next year; the building itself is under construction and is slated to be ready for occupancy in mid 2023.
It is one of the priciest deals in U.S. history, according to Real Capital Analytics. Located on the waterfront near Hudson Square, the building is a former freight terminal once known as St. John's Terminal.
Along with Facebok, Apple, and Amazon, Google is taking advantage of lower real estate leasing and purchasing prices effected through the pandemic.
It is also an about-face for Google, which has been among the most aggressive in the WFH camp among Big Tech.
"We know that our employees — in order to be happy and productive — need to collaborate," said William Floyd, Google's director of public policy and government affairs, the Journal reports. "Because of the need to collaborate, we've been investing more and more in office space."
While Google management is ready to get back to work in person, Floyd says the company is also offering its people the option to WFH.
The Journal also notes that Google prefers to buy buildings that it can reconfigure on the fly, rather than rent. Google already employs 12,000 people in New York City, its biggest workforce outside of California.
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