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6/28/2013
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Google Unveils Plans For London HQ

Plans for the facility, located adjacent to King's Cross railway station, include a roof garden and space for an interior campus.

Details of Google's new London campus -- the first one to be custom-built by the company -- have emerged, as the firm has submitted to local government its plans for the £650 million ($990 million), 725,000 square-foot office block. The facility will be situated next to King's Cross St. Pancras station and thus easily accessible for international rail travel to the rest of Europe.

When it was announced in January, the development was hailed as one of London's most significant property transactions in recent years.

Created by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the plan includes space for 4,500 employees and is scheduled to open in 2016. Its construction could create up to 1,500 new jobs, with ground set to be broken in early 2014. The facility is slated to be 11 stories high and at least 984 feet (330 meters) long, with shops and restaurants on the ground floor, a rooftop garden and an interior campus. However, these details could change as the plans go through the approval process. (You can view images of the design here; note that registration is required.)

[ Is the U.K. positioned to become the next high-tech hub? Read Britain: The New 'Silicon Island'? ]

According to Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, its focus is to work with Google to deliver a "high-quality, sustainable design concept that will provide a dynamic and flexible working environment for employees." A company representative said, "The proposal for a campus within a building that engages with a new yet historical piece of London is a very exciting one." The prospect of such inward investment and development in what has been a tough urban part of London has been welcomed in the capital.

It's not all good news for Google U.K., however. According to a study reported in Friday's Telegraph, Google's "brand" may have been damaged in Britain by the company's alleged questionable business tax practices. After being named the fifth most-desirable brand by Britons in a 2012 survey, reports say a poll to be published next week will reveal it has fallen out of the top 20.

In fact, according to marketing agency Clear, Google has actually fallen all the way to 114, after a 38% drop in brand desirability. Clear runs a regular survey among 12,000 consumers in the U.K. to make up a global Brand Desire Index.

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