Google is doubling down on returning to the office with a $2.1 billion deal for a building in NYC

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Google is doubling down on returning to the office with a $2.1 billion deal for a building in NYC
A rendering of Google's new office building in New York City. Oxford Properties
  • Google will buy a New York City office building for $2.1 billion.
  • The space, which Google already leases, is part of its Google Hudson Square campus.
  • Google has said it expects employees to return to the office beginning in January 2022.
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Google is doubling down on returning to the office.

The tech giant announced Tuesday that it plans to buy a New York City office building for $2.1 billion. It's the most money paid for an office building in the US since the onset of the pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal's Konrad Putzier, and one of the most expensive sales of an office building in US history.

Google already leases the building, located at 550 Washington St. on Manhattan's West side. The company announced in December 2018 that it was embarking on a major expansion to its presence in New York: a 1.7-million-square-foot campus dubbed "Google Hudson Square." Google said at the time that it planned to spend $1 billion outfitting three leased properties within walking distance of one another, one of which was 550 Washington St.

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Google said it plans to purchase the property in early 2022.

Google already owns a significant amount of commercial real estate in New York, including the Chelsea Market building, a building across the street at 111 Eighth Ave., and the Milk Building, which is also in Chelsea. The company employs roughly 12,000 workers in New York City.

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Google is doubling down on returning to the office with a $2.1 billion deal for a building in NYC
A pedestrian passes by 550 Washington Street in 2018. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The building, known as St. John's Terminal, is located across from Pier 40 on the Hudson River. The property is currently being redeveloped as a green office building, complete with open spaces and a rooftop terrace, Curbed New York reported in 2018.

The design will also incorporate some of the structure's history, including railway tracks that still exist inside the complex, Curbed reported.

The building is still undergoing renovations and Google said it won't upon until midway through 2023.

With the new office purchase, Google is committing to a future where at least some work takes place in-person. The company previously planned to bring its workforce back to the office next month, but delayed employees' return until January 2022 due to the surge of the Delta variant.

While Google has embraced remote work - it was one of the first major tech companies to delay its office reopening until after the 2020-2021 school year - the company has also made it clear that employees will be expected to return at some point. (Employees who do return will need to be vaccinated.)

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai has touted the benefits of working in person and previously said that the company plans to embrace a hybrid model of working.

"We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new," Pichai said during a video interview for Time 100 last year. "So we don't see that changing, so we don't think the future is just 100% remote or something."

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