Google making move into Gap

Google will be setting up shop in one of the Gap Inc. buildings on Cherry Avenue, confirming tentative plans Monday to relocate its wildly successful, San Bruno-based YouTube video sharing operations.

The search-engine giant will move an undisclosed number of employees to the building at 901 Cherry Ave. later this year or early 2008, Google spokeswoman Sunny Gettinger said. Depending on market trends, the newly rented space will likely be home to YouTube, said Gettinger.

Founded in 2005, YouTube has gained popularity as the go-to spot for online video clips, ranging from personal movie snippets to music videos to presidential debates. Google purchased the startup, which has remained an independent subsidiary, in November 2006.

“We don’t talk a lot about our real estate negotiations, but we can confirm that we have signed a lease for space in that building,” Gettinger said.

Additional details about the deal, including how much space will be rented, are also being kept close to the vest, according to both Google and Gap representatives.

According to Gettinger, this may not be Google’s last move on the Peninsula as the company looks to make further inroads in the area.

Gap, Inc. spokesman Greg Rossiter said the company signed an agreement recently to rent one of its two buildings on Cherry Avenue, but did not provide further details on when the agreement was reached.

“We own and lease a lot of property in and around the Bay Area,” Rossiter said, pointing to new headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission Bay for its Old Navy brand. “Deciding to lease or sell property is something we do all the time. It happens for a variety of reasons.”

Gap Inc. has been struggling during the last three years, suffering from weak sales. The San Francisco-based company has laid off 1,500 workers so far this year.

The Cherry Avenue deal comes on the heels of another agreement Google made with Gap earlier this year, which allowed it to set up shop in Hills Plaza in San Francisco, Rossiter said.

Little has to be done on the city’s part to allow the deal to go through, because the building is already zoned for office use, according to Community Development Director Aaron Aknin. He said Google will have to secure a business license, building-compliance permit and undergo a fire inspection, as would any other business setting up shop in San Bruno.

tramroop@examiner.com


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