Google recently debuted its New York headquarters in the revitalized 1.3-million-square-foot St. John’s Terminal building at 550 Washington Street in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood. The former 90-year-old freight terminal houses 3,000 of Google’s full-time Global Business Organization employees and hopes the new space excites folks to willingly break away from remote work in favor of returning to the office.

Designed by COOKFOX Architects and developed by Oxford Properties, part of the 12-story project was built on top of the original rail terminal from the 1930s that served as the end point for what is now the High Line. Gensler served as the interior designer, while Future Green Studio Corp. was the landscape designer. Its facade features setbacks at the fourth, tenth, and twelfth floors, while sustainability measures included restoring the masonry and limestone detailing, as well as salvaging as much of the exposed rail beds as possible. 

Inside, there are homages to the building’s history and to NYC throughout— including a custom installation in the ground level’s Great Hall with city motifs like yellow taxis, I ♥️ NYC mugs, and the ubiquitous Greek diner coffee cup. Conference rooms are named after New York’s native tree species, over 95% of the exterior plants at St. John’s Terminal is native to the state, and the outside of a two-story events hub is clad in Guastavino tile. The building also features a central staircase that cuts diagonally throughout, two auditorium spaces, several interactive art displays throughout, and multiple terraces.

"With contributions from our architecture, interiors, strategy, brand and climate action teams, St. John's Terminal was an all-hands-on-deck project for Gensler," said  Amanda Carroll, Managing Director and Principal at Gensler. "Together, we designed a workplace ecosystem that is flexible for each Google team with an adaptable mix of work settings, amenities, gathering areas, green spaces and relaxation zones that create a uniquely Google experience - one that will only get better with time."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Feb. 21, where Google executives and local officials, including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie spoke about the significance of the new building. “Think about the fact that the great products that were created with the hands of New Yorkers for centuries came through here to deliver those products to market with this freight terminal,” said Hochul. “Now, all these years later, because of the vision of Google…those investments have spawned others who said, ‘Clearly, if Google’s here, this must be the place to be.’ ”