Google is setting up shop in London's East End, and has rented a seven storey building in the heart of the capital's nascent technology quarter.
Situated in Bonhill Street just south of Old Street tube station, the lease on the 26,000 square foot building will run until at least 2022 and was advertised most recently at a rent of £400,000 per year.
Even given the discount for a 10 year lease, this is going to be costing Google many millions. What's not so clear is what it's going to be used for. According to the press release:
"Google has signed a lease for a seven-floor building in East London, the first step in its commitment to support the Tech City start-up community.
Google plans to open up the space to other organisations that support technology entrepreneurs, working together to provide a launchpad for new London-based start-ups and developers. This is the first initiative of its kind for Google anywhere in the world."
We asked Google if it was going to have any engineering or developer presence in the new offices, but haven't had a reply. Google also isn't saying yet what it means by 'organisations that support technology entrepreneurs', but has stopped short of saying that the building will be used by the entrepreneurs themselves. It will also be used for "speaker series, hackathons, training workshops and product demonstrations", which is close to the way other large tech companies run their customer centres and marketing suites.
Google has said it will be disclosing more of its plans prior to the opening of the facility in 2012.