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Google Is Spending $1B On A New Campus In Manhattan's Hudson Square

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A rendering of Oxford Properties' redevelopment of St. John's Terminal in Manhattan's Hudson Square neighborhood.
A rendering of Oxford Properties' redevelopment of St. John's Terminal in Manhattan's Hudson Square neighborhood.

While Amazon is in the eye of the storm for planting tens of thousands of workers in a former industrial neighborhood in New York, Google announced Monday it is planning its own enormous campus built out of former factories in Lower Manhattan.

Google will occupy 1.7M SF of offices in Hudson Square, the neighborhood sandwiched between the West Village and SoHo around the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, investing more than $1B in the area. The Google Hudson Square campus will be split among three buildings, but the locus of activity will be at St. John's Terminal, the 1.3M SF, Oxford Properties-led redevelopment of a former rail car holding facility at 550 Washington St. 

Google has a letter of intent to move into that building — it hasn’t been released whether it plans to buy it or lease it from Oxford and equity partner Canada Pension Plan Investment Board — and signed leases for space at 315 and 345 Hudson St. close by. It plans to move into the Hudson Street buildings in 2020 and to move to St. John's Terminal when the building is complete in 2022. The company, under its Alphabet parent company, plans to run its Global Business Organization out of Google Hudson Square.

The Hudson Square real estate deal is not even the biggest Google has made in New York in 2018: In March, it paid $2.4B to acquire the Chelsea Market building from Jamestown, the second-highest sum ever paid for a New York property. It since announced it would expand operations to Pier 57 close to its Chelsea campus. With Google Hudson Square, its already dominant foothold in Chelsea will extend down the west side to Pier 40, where St. John's Terminal sits at the foot of the original High Line.

"New York City continues to be a great source of diverse, world-class talent — that’s what brought Google to the city in 2000 and that’s what keeps us here," Alphabet and Google Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Ruth Porat wrote in a blog post announcing the Hudson Square campus. "With these most recent investments in Google Chelsea and Google Hudson Square, we will have the capacity to more than double the number of Googlers in New York over the next 10 years."

315 Hudson St., a former candy factory converted into tech company offices in Manhattan
315 Hudson St., a former candy factory converted into tech company offices in Manhattan

Hudson Square has for years been an increasing draw for tech companies, with an existing stock of large, former manufacturing facilities that combine tech workers' yearning for old-school authenticity with large floor plates that can't be replicated in new construction. 

Google is not the only upper-echelon American business planting major roots in the neighborhood. Its neighbor at 315 Hudson St. will be Bed Bath & Beyond's creative department, and The Walt Disney Co. paid nearly $700M earlier this year for land on which it plans to develop a new production facility when it moves from the Upper West Side.

"Google’s expansion sends a powerful message that Hudson Square has become one of the city’s most dynamic creative districts," Hudson Square Business Improvement District CEO Ellen Baer said. "With new public-private partnerships, neighborhood improvements and vibrant open space, there’s never been a better time to be part of the growth taking place here in Hudson Square."

Along with the office space, Google plans to spend millions on public benefits, including a digital skills center at its Eighth Avenue headquarters. It hasn’t been released how much, if any, public subsidy Google received for its growth, and the tech giant has thus far dodged the downpour of criticism Amazon has received after securing a $3B tax incentive package for its Long Island City campus.