Google to Acquire St. John’s Terminal Office Redevelopment in Manhattan for $2.1B

by John Nelson

NEW YORK CITY — Google has announced plans to acquire St. John’s Terminal, a 1.3 million-square-foot office redevelopment underway in Manhattan that will anchor the search engine giant’s Hudson Square campus. Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) intends to purchase the development site at 550 Washington St., which the company signed a lease agreement for in 2018, for approximately $2.1 billion.

The company is exercising its purchase agreement with the landlord and developer, an ownership group comprising Toronto-based Oxford Properties Group and CPP Investments, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal also reports the transaction is the most expensive sale of a single U.S. office building since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing data from research firm Real Capital Analytics. The sale is also among the priciest for a single office property in U.S. history.

Google plans to open its offices at 550 Washington by mid-2023.

Although the company expects to operate the office with a flexible hybrid approach to in-office versus work-from-home concepts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google says that “coming together in person to collaborate and build community will remain an important part of our future.”

The St. John’s Terminal transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

The former freight facility is being reimagined into a sustainable office building with multiple outdoor open spaces to connect to the surrounding Hudson Square neighborhood and the 600 feet of waterfront along the Hudson River. COOKFOX Architects is designing the office building with biophilic principles, which includes incorporating natural elements and having the property and its tenants interact directly and indirectly with nature.

The 1.7 million-square-foot Hudson Square campus will serve as the New York headquarters for Google’s Global Business Organization, which includes sales and partnership teams. Google’s cluster of owned and leased offices in Hudson Square and Chelsea comprises the largest office presence for the company outside of its home base in Mountain View, Calif.

In addition to 550 Washington, Google’s Pier 57 project along the Hudson River is nearing completion. The property will include office space occupied by Google, a public food hall, community space, galleries, the city’s largest public rooftop space and educational and environmental programs run by the Hudson River Park Trust.

Google currently employs 12,000 people in New York City. With the expansion of Hudson Square, the company expects its employee count to grow to 14,000.

Google’s stock price closed on Monday, Sept. 20 at $2,774.39 per share, up from $1,430.14 a year ago, a 94 percent increase.

— John Nelson

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