SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon may not be the only technology giant considering a big expansion in New York
Google is in discussions to move into a planned 1.3 million square foot office complex at the St. John’s Terminal building on Manhattan’s West Side, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s plans but not permitted to speak about it publicly.
The property, which is expected to be completed in 2022, would allow the internet giant to significantly increase its presence in the city. Google employs around 7,000 in New York, and a space that size could allow it to more than double its local work force.
The potential expansion, reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, comes on the heels of news that Amazon appears close to building a corporate office in the city. According to two people briefed on the negotiations, Amazon is close to naming Long Island City, a fast-growing neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, as one of two locations that would together house as many as 50,000 employees.
Amazon’s so-called HQ2 effort, a search for a second corporate headquarters outside of Seattle, has dragged on for about a year. Many were surprised when word leaked last week that the e-commerce company could end up with two new big offices instead of one. The other would be in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington.
Amazon’s potential arrival in Long Island City has some in the city hoping that New York could one day rival Silicon Valley as a tech hub. It has also raised concerns about whether the local infrastructure could handle such a rapid expansion.
Google opened its first office in New York 18 years ago, but the company’s ever-expanding work force has driven demand for larger offices and more staffing in the city.
In March, Google spent $2.4 billion to buy the Chelsea Market building in Manhattan, where the company had set up some of its New York offices. The Chelsea office is Google’s main workplace in the city, housing product and business teams for web search, ads and sales. A Google spokeswoman said it was also planning to add an additional 320,000 square feet of space with the redevelopment of Pier 57.
The search for local real estate is part of a general expansion in the United States for Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Last month, Alphabet said it had hired 9,000 employees in the United States this year, raising its total to 94,372 as of September. That was an increase of more than 16,000 from a year earlier.
St. John’s Terminal is being developed in Hudson Square by Oxford Properties, a Toronto-based developer. The 12-story building will incorporate a former freight terminal for the High Line and showcases rail beds as a central design feature.
As tech companies expand in New York, they are likely to compete with Wall Street for engineering talent.
New York has always had a significant technology industry of its own, though it has been dwarfed by the financial industry. For years, the city has ranked second or third among communities in the United States in total tech venture capital investment — with Silicon Valley and its surrounding area far and away the leader.
New York’s technology work force is also among the nation’s largest, with many computer engineers working on the enormous data systems that power big financial institutions. Roughly 25 percent of Goldman Sachs’s work force, for example, is dedicated to technology tasks, according to reports.
Facebook also has a big office in New York, as do many other Silicon Valley companies. One of Microsoft’s most important research labs is in the city. And some of the industry’s most advanced research in complex and superfast computing systems is being done in New York, largely because of work with the big banks.
But one thing the city has not been able to claim in a long time is a technology powerhouse of its own. The closest home of a tech heavyweight is Armonk, N.Y, about 40 miles away, where IBM is based. (IBM also has major offices in Manhattan.)