Google has announced a $1bn (£871m) deal to purchase the entire London mixed-used development Central Saint Giles – the first project designed by Renzo Piano in Uk, built at a cost of £450 millions and opened in May 2010, near Oxford Street, in the center of the capital.
The US firm – which actually rents space in the building together with NBCUniversal and MindShare – called the move a show of confidence in the return to more office working and this investment is also likely to be seen as a boost for Oxford Street, London’s main shopping street, which has seen a string of well-known retailers close their doors during the pandemic.
The coloured 15-storeys building – with its bright red, green, orange and yellow facades covered in glazed tiles – hosts 408,000 square feet of office spaces, as well as more than 100 residential units, and on the ground floor hosts restaurants and cafes. Thanks to this purchase, Google will have space for 10,000 employees in the UK, a significant increase on the 6,400 staff it currently has in the country between London and Manchester, 700 of whom joined the company over the past year.
Despite the rise of remote working during the pandemic, Google is also building a new London headquarters next to the railway lines that run in and out of King’s Cross railway station. Once completed it will stand 11-storeys tall, it will have a 25-metre swimming pool, a garden, an indoor basketball court and several massage rooms. But Google has also promising a multimillion-pound refurbishment of Central Saint Giles’ offices, in order to create a post-pandemic workplace that has “parity” to the King’s Cross HQ.