Google signs deal for £1bn headquarters in London

by Kenny Hemphill on January 18, 2013

Google has completed a deal to acquire 2.4 acres of land in London’s Kings Cross Central development, according to Property Week (free registration required). The deal, which includes building and construction is reported by Reuters to have cost Google £650m and the finished premises will be worth £1bn when they’re completed in 2016.

‘This is a big investment by Google, we’re committing further to the UK – where computing and the web were invented. It’s good news for Google, for London and for the UK,’ Google’s Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, Matt Brittin, said in a statement.

The Evening Standard reported last year that Google was planning to move from its current HQ near Victoria station when the lease expires in 2016 and said that its new offices would be a campus-style ‘a cluster of five buildings in the south-east corner of the scheme — right near the new ticket hall.’

Google’s neighbours will include Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design, bank BNP Paribas and the Aga Khan Foundation.

The Kings Cross Central development occupies 65 acres of a former railway goods yard to the north of Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. The move won’t affect Google’s building at London’s Silicon Roundabout and will please the Government which is keen to promote London as a hub for technology companies.

According to Reuters, however, tax expert and campaigner, Richard Murphy believes that investing in property in the UK is ‘tax motivated.’ By spending capital in the UK, Google can avoid re-patriating it to the US and incurring a tax liability. ‘If you’re not going to send it back to the parent company to repurchase its shares, which is the normal route for a U.S. corporation sitting on a pile of cash, what else are you going to do with it?’ he said

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