REAL ESTATE

Google opens new NYC office at historic St. John’s Terminal

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All photos courtesy of Google.

Google on Wednesday officially opened its newest New York City office. What once was a freight terminal in an industrial section of lower Manhattan is now a high-performing modern workplace for thousands of employees. Anchoring Google’s larger campus in Hudson Square, the historic St. John’s Terminal building at 550 Washington Street has been reimagined by COOKFOX Architects with a nine-floor addition atop three existing floors, a sustainable and biophilic design, diverse work areas, and outdoor communal spaces with Hudson River views.

Built in 1934, the St. John’s Terminal was the terminus of the New York Central Railroad’s West Side elevated freight line, the High Line, until it was decommissioned in 1960. Canadian developer Oxford Properties bought St. John’s Terminal in 2017 for $700 million and selected COOKFOX to convert the building into a 12-story office tower.

Google announced in 2018 plans to expand its footprint to Hudson Square, leasing properties at 315 and 345 Hudson Street, in addition to St. John’s Terminal, as part of a 1.7 million-square-foot campus in the neighborhood. In 2021, the tech giant bought the historic structure for $2.1 billion, one of the most expensive office building sales ever recorded.

The LEED v4 Platinum-certified building features onsite terrace solar arrays, the ability to retain 92,000 gallons of rainwater, roughly 1.5 acres of native vegetation, and highly filtered outside air and biodynamic lighting.

Designed by Gensler, the project’s lead interior architect and designer, the workplaces at St. John’s Terminal are made for teams instead of just individuals. The new “shared neighborhood seating” model assigns a home base to teams that vary depending on the needs of the team. There are 60 “neighborhoods” in total, with a variety of desks, meeting rooms, phone booths, and communal tables, according to Google.

The building also incorporates an equal amount of communal space throughout, including terrace spaces, a ground-floor hall with a coffee bar, and a central staircase with large landings. Using biophilic design, COOKFOX made a connection between inside the building and out, with sunlit interiors, views of the river, and planted terraces.

Google has called New York home since 2008 and has grown to employ 14,000 employees across several properties since then. The company owns 111 Eighth Avenue, the Milk Building at 450 West 15th Street, and the Chelsea Market building. Google is also the anchor tenant of Pier 57, a mixed-use development in Hudson River Park with a new food hall and public park.

Nearby in the neighborhood, there’s a 16-story office tower at 555 Greenwich Street and a two-tower condo at 80 Clarkson, both designed by COOKFOX. Plus, Disney’s new NYC headquarters at 4 Hudson Square is expected to open this year.

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All photos courtesy of Google

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