Google Buys London Site For $1B

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Google is set to spend $1 billion on a building in central London it already uses as office space.

As Reuters reports, the building is located in the Central Saint Giles development near Covent Garden and the purchase includes a plan for refurbishment of the office. There will be areas inside for in-person teamwork (reconfigurable team pods), meeting rooms, and sections for individuals to work alone. Covered spaces outside will also be created for those who prefer to work in the fresh air.

Ruth Porat, CFO of Google’s parent company Alphabet commented, “We have been privileged to operate in the UK for nearly 20 years, and our purchase of the Central Saint Giles development reflects our continued commitment to the country’s growth and success.”

Google Buys London Site For $1B

Considering the last two years have seen a big shift towards remote work, it’s surprising to see Google investing so heavily in office space. In September, it also spent $2.1 billion on a Manhattan office building it’s been leasing for several years.

However, Ronan Harris, Vice President and MD, Google UK & Ireland, makes it clear, “We believe that the future of work is flexibility.” Google is developing these spaces with that flexibility in mind. “Whilst the majority of our UK employees want to be on-site some of the time, they also want the flexibility of working from home a couple of days a week. Some of our people will want to be fully remote,” Harris explained.

Once this acquisition and refurbishment is complete, Google will have enough office space across the UK for 10,000 workers, although it currently employees just over 7,000. However, it’s still unclear when all those employees can return to work as last month the company delayed plans to get more people traveling to its offices again.