Google’s Kings Cross HQ plans confirmed
Web services giant Google has completed a deal to allow the beginning of construction work on their new UK headquarters adjoining Kings Cross St. Pancras station, representatives confirmed yesterday.
The project is expected to run up a tab of between £1bn and £1.6bn – far higher than the estimated £550m figure released in October – and transform 2.4 acres of disused land behind central London’s main terminus.
The company hope to centralise their operations base in the capital through the construction of an 11-storey office block on the site, which was bought from the Kings Cross Central Partnership, and move key staff members in from their current offices in Holborn and Victoria.
Google – listed last month as the most visited site in the US – plans to maintain its 7-storey office block in Shoreditch, which offers workspace for media and technology start-ups, as well as offices in Manchester.
In accordance with previous Google projects, observers can expect an exercise in dynamic and creative design, with Simon Allford, a partner at architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, setting out his desire to “articulate a conversation between the world within and the city beyond”.
The deal is a marked contrast to the subdued growth of the London property market in recent times, and should the project reach upper estimates, it will become one of the highest value transactions since the start of the financial crisis in 2007.
Matt Brittin, vice-president for northern and central Europe at Google, said: “This is a big investment by Google, we’re committing further to the UK – where computing and the web were invented. It’s good news for Google, for London and for the UK.”
Despite a parliamentary select committee recently accusing Google of “immoral tax avoidance”, government representatives - who have set aside millions in investment for technology-based projects such as ‘Silicone Roundabout’ on Old Street - are likely to be enthused by the announcement.
Their plans appear to be bearing fruit, with communications engine Skype taking 88,000 sq ft at Waterhouse Square, Amazon’s deal for 47,000 sq ft in Tech City and Oracle’s acquisition of 22,000 sq ft at 1 South Place last year.
In November, Search Office Space reported that T&T companies have acquired more office space in the capital than the financial industries for the first time on record, and recent figures suggest that such companies are on course to acquire a further 1.2m sq ft of premium office stock - twice the area of The Shard - by 2014.