Google Inc., the ever-expanding Internet search giant, is establishing a beachhead in Venice.
In a rare bright spot for the region's sluggish economy, Google is leasing more than 100,000 square feet of office space in three buildings, including the famed Binoculars Building designed by Frank Gehry. Sitting in front of the building is a huge binocular sculpture created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, perhaps befitting of the company's search theme.
The move is part of a major expansion by Google in Southern California and could set up a new center of operation in the region.
Google representatives confirmed Tuesday night that the company had signed a lease for the properties, saying its employees would begin moving into the offices this year. Google's new complex of buildings will have more square footage than its current facilities in Santa Monica, where the largest of the three buildings has 45,000 square feet and houses 300 employees.
"Los Angeles is a world-class city with a talented workforce, and we're thrilled to expand our presence as we enter our biggest hiring year in company's history," said Thomas Williams, a senior director of engineering at Google.
Opening a Venice campus is part of an ambitious hiring plan for the Mountain View, Calif., company, which earlier Tuesday announced it would add more than 6,000 workers this year.
Although Google would not comment on the precise number of new employees the move would bring to the city, the new space is likely to become a de facto Los Angeles campus, consolidating employees at other nearby locations, according to real estate sources.
The landmark building at 340 Main St., which was completed in 1991, was Gehry's last major project in Los Angeles before the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003. First to occupy the building was another friend of Gehry's, ad man Jay Chiat, who headquartered his powerhouse Chiat/Day ad agency in the building. Chiat died in 2002.
Los Angeles city officials welcomed the news.
"I am ecstatic that Google will be opening offices in Venice," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes the properties, in a statement. "I am particularly happy that its large number of employees will be contributing to our local economy. This should be a huge boon to the restaurants and shops on Main Street, Rose Avenue and Abbot Kinney Boulevard."
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
BREAKING: Google to create massive new campus in Venice Beach
Posted by Marta Evry at Tuesday, January 25, 2011