Tech giant Google will spend $1 billion to buy up its own London offices where it is currently a tenant, showing its plans for the future when employees start returning to the office, the company said on Friday.
Google, which employs 6,400 people in Britain, plans a multi-million-pound refurbishment of its offices within the Central Saint Giles development it is buying, close to Covent Garden in central London.
“We have been privileged to operate in the UK for nearly 20 years, and our purchase of the Central Saint Giles development reflects our continued commitment to the country’s growth and success,” said Ruth Porat, CFO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.
Google plans to refit the building so it is adapted for in-person teamwork and has meeting rooms for hybrid working, as well as creating more space for individuals.
The new refurbishment will also feature outdoor covered working spaces to enable work in the fresh air, the company said.
Google said it would eventually have a capacity for 10,000 workers at its U.K. sites,including one being developed in the nearby King’s Cross area of London.
“This investment in jobs from Google is a big vote of confidence in the UK as a world-leading tech hub,” Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
Google said last month that it was delaying its return-to-office plan globally amid growing concerns over the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Central Saint Giles building had been owned by a joint venture between Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets and Mitsubishi Estate London Limited.
The vaccines have rekindled global companies’ hopes for a return to normal life recently, however, this hope has been dashed by the new coronavirus variant.