Google has announced that it is to build its new headquarters in London Kings Cross, expanding next to its existing base.
The new 11 storey headquarters will fit 7,000 new employees and will be entirely designed and owned by Google—a first outside of the United States. Heatherwick Studios and Bjarke Ingels Group are to design the prestigious new offices after the project’s originally contracted designers, AHMM, were dropped for being ‘too boring’. The new building is said to host plenty of lounge and communal areas and nap pods. The project will invest around £1 billion into the capital and will make room for up to 3,000 new high-skill jobs by 2020.
In June 2016, 2,500 Google employees began moving into their new offices in Pancras Square, the largest Google offices in Europe at 380,000 square feet, and home to 2,500 employees. The construction on a second building that began earlier in 2016 that Google will occupy (but not own) will see Google’s employees moving in by 2018.
The announcement that Google is to build its new headquarters in London is seen as a vote of confidence in Britain after Brexit. Chancellor Philip Hammond said, ‘This is a big vote of confidence in Britain’s leading position as a global tech-hub and more evidence that leading firms are choosing to invest here.’ He continued, “Our technology industry is central to securing future economic growth and this Government is committed to ensuring it continues to thrive. It’s further proof that Britain is open for business and that we continue to be an outward-looking, world-leading nation.”
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, welcomed the tech giant’s announcement with similar remarks, “This is a vote of confidence in our great city—creating high-skilled jobs, supporting growth and demonstrating that London is open to business, new investment and talent from around the globe,” he said. “London is one of the world’s leading technology hubs and investment into the capital post-Brexit remains robust, so Google’s expansion will further strengthen our city’s reputation as a global leader in digital technology.”
Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive said “Here in the UK, it’s clear to me that computer science has a great future with the talent, educational institutions, and passion for innovation we see all around us. We are committed to the UK and excited to continue our investment in our new King’s Cross campus,” he said.
Google is the second tech giant, after Apple, to invest in the United Kingdom’s economy despite the country’s decision to leave the European Union.