Google has announced a $1bn (£871m) deal to buy London development Central Saint Giles, calling the move a show of confidence in a return to more office work.
The American technology company is currently renting premises in the brightly colored complex designed by architect Renzo Piano, which is located in the center of the capital, near Oxford Street.
The building – with its distinctive red, green, orange and yellow facade – comprises 408,000 square feet (38,000 square meters) of office space, as well as more than 100 residential apartments, and houses restaurants and cafes on the ground floor .
After the purchase, Google will have space for 10,000 employees in the UK, a significant increase from the 6,400 employees it currently has in the country, 700 of whom joined the company during the year. past year. The company has offices in London and Manchester.
Google’s new London headquarters – a huge horizontal building known as “the Skyscraper” – is under construction next to the railway lines running into and out of King’s Cross station. the glass building will span a total of 330 meters, longer than the 310 meter high Shard Skyscraper.
The main structural works are due to be completed this year and when completed will rise to 11 stories and include a 25 meter swimming pool, indoor basketball court and massage rooms as well as a roof garden.
Despite the rise of Work from Home during the Covid pandemic, Google reaffirmed its commitment to the project in the summer of 2020.
Google is also promising a multi-million pound refurbishment of its Central Saint Giles offices to create a post-pandemic workplace that has ‘parity’ with its King’s Cross base. Offices will be more spaced out and the redesigned building will include additional meeting rooms and covered outdoor workspaces.
The investment is also likely to be seen as a boost for Oxford Street, the capital’s busiest shopping street, which has seen a chain of well-known retailers close their doors during the pandemic.
Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, said the purchase of Central Saint Giles reflects “the company’s continued commitment to [the UK’s] growth and success”.
She added: “Our goal remains to create flexible workspaces that foster innovation, creativity and inclusivity.”
Post-Covid, Google will operate a hybrid workplace model, with staff splitting their time between the office and another location, and spending an average of three days a week at their desk. Staff are also allowed to request to work entirely remotely, although this is not possible for all roles.