Google's London headquarters to have a running track on its roof
VISITING Google's Dublin offices, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were walking into a design company. The impressive architecture and no-expense-spared splendour of its buildings is world-renowned.
Now the company has secured approval for its latest construction project – a 2.3-acre office in central London that will boast no less than a running track on its roof.
Plans for the new digs, a 920,000 sq ft building located beside London's Kings Cross train station, have been approved by local government.
The office will be the search engine's UK headquarters and has room for 5,000 staff, many of whom will be newly recruited for the roles.
As well as a running track, the office will boast a swimming pool, climbing wall and a 20,000sq ft parking bay for bicycles. It will cost about £650m (€770m) and construction is due to start at the end of this year. Google expects to move into the building, which will be seven to 11 storeys high, in 2015.
It agreed in January to buy the land from previous owners King's Cross Central.
Google's Dublin offices, its European headquarters known as 'Google Docks', are also world-renowned for their luxury and design. One of its four Barrow Street properties is the tallest commercial building in Dublin.
The offices feature everything from music rooms to a kitchen disguised as a traditional Irish pub. There are five restaurants, 42 kitchen areas, game rooms, several gyms, and over 400 meeting rooms.
Not everyone is a fan of Google's extravagant buildings. Some analysts warn that companies that squander cash on luxurious offices are not utilising cash effectively and may be over-capitalised.
Many use the story of Borland Software to hammer the point home. In the early 1990s, Borland – once the second largest independent software company in the world – spent more than $100m (€76m) on offices near Silicon Valley in California. By 2008, the company was worth less than its campus.
Members of the public will have the chance to judge for themselves in the coming weeks whether Google's luxurious offices were worth the investment. Google Docks will be open for public viewings during Dublin's Open House weekend, where 100 buildings will go on show from October 4 to 6.