Google Will Spend $1 Billion To Build New Campus In New York City

Dec 17, 2018
Originally published on December 18, 2018 12:39 am
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Google announced today that it would open a new campus in Manhattan. That makes one more big tech company planning to grow in a top U.S. city. Last month, Amazon revealed it would open new headquarters in New York and a Washington suburb. And last week, Apple said it would build a campus in fast-growing Austin. NPR's Jasmine Garsd reports on big tech's big-city expansion.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: A billion dollars - that's how much Google says it will be spending on its new campus, which it plans to open in just two years in 2020. That's in addition to the over $2 billion it's already spent earlier this year to house its New York employees. On the busy streets of New York City, Julie Samuels says when she heard the news this morning...

JULIE SAMUELS: I was thrilled when I heard that Google was making such a big expansion here.

GARSD: Samuels runs Tech:NYC, a nonprofit representing New York City's tech industry. She says big tech knows it will find big talent in cities like New York.

SAMUELS: And we've seen time and again that the type of people who want to work at tech companies are also moving to cities, so it's kind of a cycle that's building upon itself.

GARSD: It might make sense for Google and its employees. But some are left wondering, why isn't big tech expanding into cities that are in dire need of jobs? Mark Muro is a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. He's worried about the widening gap between tech cities and those left behind in the rest of the country.

MARK MURO: It's creating a kind of two-track divide in the country where a shortlist of the digital rich get richer, and much of America watches this and is growing impatient, I think.

GARSD: But even the cities that are supposedly benefiting from tech expansion have questions. What will all this influx of workers do to the quality of life? A few weeks ago, Sally Frank (ph), a resident of Long Island City, where Amazon is heading, said she was worried.

SALLY FRANK: It's already pretty crowded on the subway which I take to work every day. And I'm pretty concerned about what that means for this - the local infrastructure.

GARSD: For Julie Samuels from the nonprofit Tech:NYC, it's a no-brainer. She says tech companies bring in all kinds of jobs.

SAMUELS: You know, that is people who work in coffee shops. That's janitorial jobs. That's high-tech jobs. It's everything. It runs the gamut. And so New York really stands to benefit.

GARSD: In fact, Google is projecting that it will eventually double its number of New York employees. For the time being, it looks like big tech continues to be in love with big cities. Jasmine Garsd, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.