By Matthew Haag, NY Times
Facebook has just leased enough new office space in Manhattan to nearly triple its current local workforce, including at one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the 107-year-old former main post office complex near Pennsylvania Station.
Apple, which set up its first office in New York a decade ago, is expanding to another building in Manhattan. And Google and Amazon are stitching together corporate campuses in the city more quickly than anywhere else in the world. Amazon paid roughly $1 billion in March for the iconic Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue.
Despite a pandemic that has ravaged New York, hollowed out many of its office buildings, and raised fundamental questions about its future, the four companies collectively known as Big Tech are all significantly expanding their footprint in the city, giving it a badly needed vote of confidence.
With fears that the virus could spike again in the colder months, many companies are grappling with how, when, and even if office workers will come back to buildings in Manhattan. And the tech giants have not brought their workers back yet, either.
Even so, the giants have not only moved forward with previous growth plans, but have also increased their pace of hiring and office acquisition during the pandemic.
The industry’s embrace of New York City comes despite the tumultuous reception that Amazon received last year when it proposed building a sprawling headquarters in Queens. Amazon abandoned the plans in the face of political and community opposition but now has acquired more than 2 million square feet of office space for corporate workers, as well as warehouses from Staten Island to Queens to the Bronx.
After Amazon bought the Lord & Taylor building, it announced in August that 2,000 employees would eventually work there, increasing by half its current tech work force of 4,000.
Amazon now has eight office properties in New York, most of which are clustered in Midtown. The company recently expanded outside Manhattan, leasing space on the Brooklyn waterfront for its Amazon Music team.
“We know that talent attracts talent, and we believe that the creative energy of cities like New York will continue to attract diverse professionals from around the world,” said Ardine Williams, Amazon’s vice president of work force development.