Google plans expansion in Ann Arbor

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Google is planning a major expansion of its Ann Arbor offices with a plan to build a new facility on the city's north side.

The expansion will relocate Google in 2016 from its offices in downtown Ann Arbor to 140,000 square feet of office space near the north campus of the University of Michigan, company officials confirmed Friday.

"Google has had a wonderful home in Ann Arbor since 2006, and we're thrilled to continue to grow here," Mike Miller, head of Google's Ann Arbor office, said in a statement. "We're excited to move to the north side of the city and create a campus. We're looking forward to getting to know our new neighborhood."

Google will lease space on Traverwood Drive from Ann Arbor real estate corporation First Martin and build a facility nearby to consolidate all of its employees in Ann Arbor.

Construction is expected to begin in the next couple of months and be complete in mid- to late 2016, said Rebecca Rutkoff, manager of global communications and public affairs at Google. She would not comment on hiring projections.

Google came to Michigan in 2006 and has more than 400 employees in Ann Arbor for its AdWords unit, the company's main advertising vehicle and source of revenue. The company also has a sales office in Birmingham.

Google's downtown location is in the McKinley Towne Centre at Liberty and Division streets. Due to growth, Rutkoff said Google signed a short-term lease last fall at the South State Commons II building on Oakbrook Drive.

Albert Berriz, CEO of McKinley, which owns Google's downtown Ann Arbor location, said his company began to show the space Friday. He said McKinley already has interest from several potential tenants, including one that wants to occupy the full space.

"I can't say who it is, but I think it's going to be equally as impressive," Berriz said.

Ann Arbor City Councilwoman Sabra Briere is thrilled Google is staying in town. The company's expansion is in her ward.

"There was concern they might leave town," Briere said. "Having Google AdWords here is such a positive thing here for Ann Arbor. I would be sorry if they left. It's not just the employment, it's about the opportunity for recent University of Michigan graduates to stay in town. That's a real plus."

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