Redeveloped Portion of St. John’s Terminal Reopens as Google’s Hudson Sq Centerpiece

Amid much fanfare, a ribbon cutting was recently held for the reopening of the redeveloped south portion of the former St. John’s Terminal building at 550 Washington Street, as it once again takes an active place in the westside neighborhood as the centerpiece of Google’s “1.7 million-square-foot Googleplex master plan along with 315 Hudson Street and 345 Hudson Street.” At a time when challenges continue to confront the office market, the opening of the 12-story structure spanning two full city blocks casts a bright light of optimism on the beleaguered sector. Having recently completed an adaptive reuse of the former freight terminal, the building was designed to house over 3,000 employees, and is the only property built completely to Google’s standards. An average of more than 400 square feet of space is allocated for each worker, and even when considering some of the building is used for amenities, the space-to-worker ratio significantly exceeds the long-time typical 150-square-foot average. In contradiction to the recent corporate strategy of Google’s parent company Alphabet, which globally spent $1.8 billion on “exit charges” or fees to shed leases at some offices, the opening of a new office building of this scale makes New York City a bit of an anomaly. Having purchased the southern portion of the larger site for $2.1 billion in 2022, Google currently has more than 14,000 full-time employees based in the city.