Google to open first retail store—in New York City
Executives with the search giant detailed the plans to Crains New York Business for the 5,000-square-foot store at 76 Ninth Ave., part of the former Port Authority building purchased by Google for $1.9 billion in 2010. The store—which does not yet have an opening date—will showcase, sell and repair the Nest thermostats, Pixel phones, Fitbits and other physical products sold by Google, the executives said.
The plans show Google betting on in-store retail at a time such businesses are still reeling from closures driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen that there is a segment of our customer base that really wants to be hands-on and experience our products,” said Jason Rosenthal, Google’s VP of subscription services.
The plan is to open within the next few months, with social distancing and masks required—though Rosenthal said Google will monitor health guidance and could adjust its policies. Gov. Andrew Cuomo cleared retailers to drop mask requirements for the first time Wednesday.
The physical store marks a new experiment for Google. The company has run pop-up shops in major cities for product launches in the past. In 2018 it considered opening a store in Chicago but backed off the idea a year later.
Google said it chose Chelsea for the location as a way to place a new stamp on the neighborhood, where the company already employs more than 11,000 people.
“We want to give New Yorkers and visitors a way to directly interact with Google in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” Rosenthal said.
The site sits at the eastern end of the 3 million-square-foot office building at 111 Eighth Ave., which Google bought a decade ago. Google also bought the Chelsea Market building across the street for $2.4 billion in 2018.
Google is also building out office space at the St. John's Terminal building in Hudson Square—which could be fully occupied by 2023—as well as at nearby Pier 57. The company has a total of 1.7 million square feet in the city.
—Ryan Deffenbaugh is a reporter for Crain's New York Business