Google just bought a $40 million office-development site near Seattle

  • Google just paid $40 million to acquire a new development site in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, according to public records.
  • Google confirmed the purchase, saying the site would “serve as additional space for long-term growth in the area.” 
  • That’s significant, as it suggests Google is moving ahead with office expansion plans despite the pandemic.
  • Got a tip? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The pandemic and shift to remote work aren’t slowing down Google’s office-expansion plans in the Seattle area.

Google paid $40 million on July 29 to acquire a plot of land in the Kirkland Urban development east of Seattle, according to a real-estate excise-tax affidavit the company filed in King County, Washington.

Google last year bought two buildings in Kirkland Urban with a combined 400,000 square feet, which are expected to be completed this year, and an additional Kirkland Urban development site slated for completion in 2022.

Google confirmed the latest sale, saying the site would “serve as additional space for long-term growth in the area.” The sale is significant because it suggests Google is moving ahead with office-expansion plans despite the pandemic, which has caused other companies to pull back.

REI, for example, recently announced plans to sell its not-yet-finished headquarters in nearby Bellevue, Washington, and instead spread operations across multiple Seattle-area sites. Twitter told employees they could permanently work remotely.

Amazon, meanwhile, is also moving forward with physical office expansions. The company announced plans this week to open “tech hubs” across the country, saying it’s investing $1.4 billion to expand offices in Dallas, Detroit, Denver, New York, Phoenix, and San Diego, and add 3,500 workers.

Google said it was maintaining its offices in Seattle and Kirkland, even as the majority of its employees work from home.

The company said it has more than 5,750 employees in the Seattle area working on products including the company’s cloud-computing business, Android mobile operating system, Chrome browser, Google Maps, and ads. 

When asked about how Google views physical offices amid the pandemic, a spokesperson pointed to CEO Sundar Pichai’s most recent comments about remote work.

“Moving ahead, we are looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work,” Pichai wrote in a May email to employees. “Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community — in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office — and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose.”

At the same time, Pichai wrote that Google would keep an open mind: “I believe that ultimately these insights will lead to more flexibility and choice for employees as they consider how to work in the future.”

Do you have insight to share? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).

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