Google plans for expansion help turn NYC into tech hub


Associated Press

NEW YORK

As New York City waits to hear whether it’s been chosen as the site for Amazon’s second headquarters, recent moves by another tech giant, Google, to expand its footprint in the city are helping to legitimize New York’s claim to be Silicon Valley East.

Google is reportedly close to a reaching a $2.4 billion deal to add a landmark Meatpacking District building to its already substantial New York campus.

The building, a block-long former Nabisco factory named after its ground-floor upscale food mall, Chelsea Market, is across the street from Google’s New York City headquarters, a massive, art deco, former shipping terminal that also occupies an entire city block.

Google already leases space in Chelsea Market, which also contains offices for Major League Baseball and the local cable news channel NY1, among other tenants.

If the sale goes through, it would be among the priciest real-estate transactions for a single building in city history. It would also give Google a remarkable Manhattan campus to supplement its still-growing main headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Google representatives did not respond to requests for comment about the company’s New York expansion plans.

Google already occupies another former Nabisco cookie factory just west of Chelsea Market. And, across the street from that factory, it has also announced plans to lease another 320,000 square feet of space at Pier 57, an office and retail complex built on a pier over the Hudson River.

A New York Post real-estate writer this week dubbed Google’s slice of Manhattan “Alphabet City,” a reference to the name of both Google’s parent company and a neighborhood on Manhattan’s east side.

The pending Chelsea Market deal was first reported by the real-estate publication The Real Deal.

The Google expansion comes as other tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook and Spotify, are also growing in the city. In addition to considering New York among the 20 finalists for its new eastern U.S. headquarters, Amazon recently signed a deal to bring 2,000 employees to a building, formerly occupied by The Associated Press, on Manhattan’s far west side.

New York has been pitching itself as an alternative to Silicon Valley for years. And while tech may never rival financial services and Wall Street as the most important private-sector employer and economic driver in New York, it has established a legitimate footprint that goes beyond a few big-name companies.

A report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that New York City had 7,600 tech firms in 2016, an increase of 23 percent since 2010. The report found that the average salary for tech employees in the city was $147,300.

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