Google to grow Manhattan fiefdom with potential St. John’s Terminal deal

The company has shown a voracious appetite for Manhattan real estate, earlier this year paying $2.4B for Chelsea Market

St. John's Terminal (Rendering: COOKFOX Architects)
St. John's Terminal (Rendering: COOKFOX Architects)

Forget Amazon HQ2 — Google is gearing up for a massive expansion.

The search engine’s parent company, Alphabet, is nearing a deal to buy or lease St. John’s Terminal, Oxford Properties Group’s 1.3 million-square-foot office development, according to the Wall Street Journal. That, plus two other new office spaces, could increase Google’s Manhattan workforce by 12,000.

In addition to 250,000 square feet at RXR Realty and Youngwoo Associate’s Pier 57 redevelopment, Google is planning to tack 300,000 square feet onto Chelsea Market, which it bought for roughly $2.4 billion earlier this year. The company is already the largest tenant at the 1.2 million-square-foot building with 400,000 square feet.

Altogether, the three deals could grow Google’s total employee count in the city to 20,000. The figure isn’t far off from the 25,000 bodies Amazon’s potential second headquarters could bring to Long Island City, which the New York Times reported on Monday.

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Elsewhere in Manhattan, Google owns 111 Eighth Avenue, which it paid $1.77 billion for in 2010. And it occupies 240,000 square feet at Vornado Realty Trust’s 85 10th Avenue.

While no sales price or lease term were disclosed, the St. John’s Terminal deal would be a major coup for Oxford because it’s the company’s first solo development in New York. It’s co-developing Hudson Yards with the Related Companies.

In January, Oxford and partner Canada Pension Plan paid $700 million to buy the old rail warehouse, at 500 Washington Street, from Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group. Construction is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2019, and the project is slated for completion in 2022.

Oxford released the first set of renderings for the project early last month. [WSJ]—Danielle Balbi