Google has opened a new office in Melbourne as state governments continue to tussle over who will play host to the tech giant’s local headquarters.
The new 100-desk office on Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD was opened late last week. It’s currently only half-filled, with Google now on the hunt for new recruits to pad it out.
While the Victorian government said it will continue to lobby Google to bring its headquarters to the city, Google has maintained that it will remain in Sydney despite ongoing struggles to zero in on a location.
Google has embraced some Melbourne tropes with the office, with a graffiti wall and workspaces named The ‘G, Flinders Street and the Yarra Valley.
Victorian Innovation Minister Philip Dalidakis said he would encourage Google to bring its entire Australian headquarters to Melbourne if its struggles across the border continue.
“We have had discussions with Google about how we can grow the Melbourne office.
“Once the Melbourne office gets to a size and scale that Google can be confident about what they place and where they can place it, we will continue to have those discussions with them,” Mr Dalidakis told the media last week.
“If the New South Wales government does not appreciate what they have in their own backyard I will only be too happy to demonstrate and to show Google what they have over the ditch in Melbourne.”
But Google Melbourne site lead Sean McDonell was quick to affirm that the headquarters will be remaining in Sydney despite recent setbacks.
“We’ve made it pretty clear that Sydney is where the headquarters will be,” Mr McDonell said.
Mr McDonell said the new office would mostly be playing home to marketing and HR roles.
“The new Melbourne office demonstrates our long-term commitment to businesses and partners in Victoria.
“We’re growing because of our partners – local businesses and community groups – are growing,” Mr McDonell said.
“We’re delighted to have a growing office hub here in Melbourne – from just four people when we began a few years ago to more than 100 desks in the Google Melbourne office today. We are hiring – we have a number of desks that we’re looking to fill.”
Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said the new office is a “great shot in the arm” for the local tech sector.
“It proves once again that Melbourne is the tech centre of our nation. Google’s new office will employ more than a hundred people and create training opportunities for our talented tech graduates.
“It’s a vote of confidence in our economy and will bolster our already strong tech sector – which is delivering jobs for Victorians,” Mr Merlino said.
Google has been struggling to find a location for its headquarters in Sydney, and received a further setback earlier this year when the NSW government rejected Mirvac’s plan to create a tech hub in Carriageworks in Eveleigh which would have seen Google as the anchor tenant.
Google currently has nearly 1400 Sydney staff, and continues to maintain that the city will remain home to this team and the local headquarters.
Last year the company also pulled out of its plan to establish the headquarters at the newly revamped White Bay Power Station due to a lack of adequate public transport options.
Google recently secured a sub-lease for a space in Pyrmont as it continues the search for a more permanent home.
Along with Victoria, a number of other states including Queensland and South Australia have also thrown their hats in the ring to host the Google headquarters if the struggles in Sydney continue.
The Victorian government’s efforts to attract another tech giant to Melbourne were met with fierce criticism after it was announced that Apple would be establishing a landmark store in Federation Square.