Google Confident in Future of Office with $1.4bn Spend


Google is planning for the future of its London workspace in West End after picking up the Central Saint Giles development for US$1 billion ($1.39 billion).

Although the purchase was a confidence boost for the sector, the tech-giant outlined there would be major changes to make the space fit for flexible work styles.

The built in 2010, the mixed-use development designed by Renzo Piano included 37,900sq m of office, 109 apartments, 1580sq m of roof terraces as well as 2300sq m of restaurants and cafes.

The announcement came as the British capital went through another wave Covid with Omicron expected to have a more modest impact on demand than previous waves, according to Savills.

Meanwhile in Australia, Investa research showed flexible work practices were expected to create a modest drag on office absorption, however, employment growth and a flight to quality would boost the sector.

Both countries reported a “flurry of activity” before the Christmas period and the highest monthly take up of office space since before the pandemic.

▲ The Google future office refurbishment includes a lounge area and feature staircase to create flow across the buildings and connect the people within. Image: BDG Architects

Google vice president for UK and Ireland Ronan Harris said the future of its office space would incorporate a “multi-million pound refurbishment” to ensure they were best equipped to meet the needs of the future workforce.

“We’ll be introducing new types of collaboration spaces for in-person teamwork, as well as creating more overall space to improve wellbeing,” Harris said.

“We’ll introduce team pods, which are flexible new space types that can be reconfigured in multiple ways, supporting focused work, collaboration or both, based on team needs.

“The new refurbishment will also feature outdoor covered working spaces to enable work in the fresh air.”

Harris said its investment represented “our continued confidence in the office as a place for in-person collaboration and connection”.

The refurbishment designed by BDG Architects included a landing on each floor to build connections across teams, sound-protected booths for one-on-one conversations and quiet zones for focused work.

The company was also constructing an 11-storey office building in King’s Cross to house an additional 7000 UK employees.

Meanwhile in Australia, Google has lodged plans to redevelop its technology precinct in Sydney’s Pyrmont after picking up the site from Aqualand.

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