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Google purchases giant NYC building for fiber optic network

By Max Burkhalter
December 29, 2010
Google fired its latest shot in its goal for fiber optic supremacy with the purchase of the New York City Port Authority building. The company spend $1.9 billion to acquire the building, which is one of the largest in the city. According to New York Magazine, taxes from the sale, which Google made in cash, will net the state $7 million and the city more than $46 million.

The Port Authority building, which resides at 111 Eighth Avenue in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, is almost 3 million square feet.

According to Wired, the building is so huge that it takes 20 minutes to walk around it once. “The size is all the more striking because in a densely packed city like New York, which is full of very tall buildings, it’s rare to find one that is so horizontally gigantic,” wrote Sam Gustin for Wired.

According to Wired, the building sits atop a vital area for fiber optic cable development. “The structure sits almost directly on top of where the Hudson Street/Ninth Avenue fiber highway makes a dog-leg to the right before heading northeast toward the Upper West Side,” Wired said.

In New York City, fiber optic cables are laid in bundles beneath the asphalt.

According to Wired, the previous owners of the building, Taconic Investment Partners, knew the location of the building would attract companies interested in fiber optic cable. To take advantage of this, they built a room in the building that allowed them to meet with potential customers using the fiber line.

“We believe that this is a great real estate investment in a thriving neighborhood and a fantastic city,” wrote David Radcliffe, Google vice president for real estate and workplace services, on the company’s blog. “Like the city, our New York office is a melting pot of cultures and ideas - it’s home to Googlers from more than 35 countries who speak more than 40 languages.”

Google’s efforts to take control of the fiber optic market expanded rapidly in 2010. The company launched a test network at Stanford University, providing fiber optic connectivity to university faculty and staff. The company also announced a contest to provide a fiber optic test network to applicant communities of its choice. However, it has not yet announced the winners of the contest.


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