Google is poised to open its first permanent retail store

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Signage is displayed in front of Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.
Signage is displayed in front of Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.  Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Google is poised to finally erect its first permanent retail store. The tech giant is close to finalizing a lease on a 14,000 square-foot property in Chicago's trendy Fulton Market district, according to local media reports, including Crain's Chicago Business and Chicago Tribune.

Both publications noted that while Google has run pop-up locations in other stores, this would be its first permanent location. A Google spokeswoman told Ad Age that "we don't comment on rumor or speculation."

In 2015, Google abandoned plans to open a store in New York City, after spending $6 million renovating the 131 Greene St. location, Crain's New York Business reported at the time.

The Chicago store would give Google a bricks-and-mortar location to show off its expanding line of products, including Pixel phones, Daydream VR headsets, Nest products and more.

Retail stores, of course, have long been a key part of Apple's strategy. And Microsoft operates stores in 35 states.

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods showed that it, too, sees a future in brick-and-mortar, even as the e-commerce giant's online dominance has altered the way people shop.

The location Google is eyeing in Chicago is just a few blocks from Google's Midwest headquarters. The Fulton Market neighborhood, part of Chicago's West Loop, is formerly a meatpacking district. It has been transformed in recent years and is now home to some of Chicago's hottest restaurants. Earlier this summer McDonald's opened its new headquarters in the neighborhood in a 490,000-square foot building that is roughly three blocks from the spot Google is eyeing.

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