Google does it right. With minimal fanfare, the search giant announced Sept. 21 that it would shell out $2.1B to buy the massive St. John’s Terminal on Manhattan’s Hudson River waterfront front and would add 2,000 more people to its 12,000-member workforce in the Big Apple.
It’s one of the biggest prices ever paid for an office building in the US.
Opened in 1934 as a freight railroad terminal, St. John’s Terminal was once known as the “lifeline of New York” for its role in delivering shipments of meat, milk and eggs from the Hudson Valley to the city.
Google is throwing another lifeline to NYC, which is struggling to stage a comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The St. John’s Terminal deal is a strong vote of confidence in both the city and the importance of the “in-the-office” work model.
“New York’s energy, creativity and world-class talent are what keeps us rooted here and why we’re deepening our commitment with plans to purchase St. John’s Terminal,” said Ruth Porat, CFO of Google.
Google’s low-key NYC expansion stands in sharp contrast to Amazon’s search for a second headquarters saga that went on for more than a year.
CEO Jeff Bezos’ team barnstormed the US, Canada and Mexico and shook down more than 200 cities for tax breaks, infrastructure improvements, and a myriad of corporate goodies.
Amazon announced the search for HQ2 in September 2017 and the online retailer unveiled a shortlist of 20 survivors in January 2018.
Arlington, VA and Long Island City, Queens were announced the lucky winners in November 2018. Amazon promised each 25K workers.
New York grassroots groups, unions and politicos questioned why the world’s greatest city needed to shower corporate giant Amazon with $1.5B in tax breaks, $325M grants and incentives to entice it to move.
In a pique, Bezos canceled LIC in February 2019 and decided to expand its Seattle HQ instead.
The lure of the Big Apple proved too much for Jeff. Less than a year later, Amazon signed a lease to expand near the new Hudson Yards Development on the West Side and bought the former Lord & Taylor department store building on Fifth Ave in Midtown.
Army musters out its top public affairs officer. Brigadier General Amy Johnston, chief spokesperson for the Army and its highest ranking PA official has been suspended after a climate command survey blamed her for creating a hostile work environment.
She has been suspended and placed on special duty pending the outcome of an investigation.
Army Times obtained slides of the climate survey and found massive dissatisfaction with the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.
About two-thirds of respondents reported low morale at OCPA, compared to eight percent saying morale was high. Overwork, lousy work-life balance and fuzzy expectations were among reasons for the morale problem.
A whopping 97 percent of respondents report “workplace hostility at OCPA. More than a quarter (26 percent) witnessed racial harassment and 21 percent saw instances of sexual misconduct.
Johnston became chief of PA on April 13, 2019. Earlier, she was PA officer at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Belgium), deputy PA officer at the Pentagon and PA officer for the US Army in South Korea.
ESG issues are rapidly climbing the corporate agenda, becoming a major consideration of CEOs, according to FTI Consulting’s Resilience Barometer.
Once viewed as a supplementary PR exercise, more than one in five of executives at G20 country companies believe ESG and sustainability developments have had a material adverse impact on their revenues during the past year.
The idea of ESG as a risk to be managed has evolved into “an opportunity to be seized.” A robust 85 percent of RB respondents “have shifted their approach from reactively managing ESG to proactively identifying new ESG-related business opportunities.”
Thirty percent of G20 companies expect to make a merger or acquisition to improve their ESG capabilities over the next year.