back to article REVEALED: Google's GINORMOUS £650m London Choc Factory

What would you do if you had a golden ticket that helped you avoid having to cough a big wodge of tax cash? Well, if you were Google, you'd build a hulking great glass monstrosity as wide as The Shard is tall, smack bang in the middle of London. The advertising giant has filed plans for a new £650m, 330m-long UK Chocolate …

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Facepalm

Oh well...

... At least they'll have to pay building rates now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh well...

They may well not end up paying - Camden council refuses to say if the Scientology premises on Tottenham Court Road pays any or no tax on the building. This is despite FOI requests for this information...

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Silver badge

Re: Oh well...

Although it may appear to be in Camden, for tax purposes the building is actually in another dimension.

Also due to Google's advanced inter-dimensional engineering, the interior of the building is actually smaller than the outside - so they will only be liable for tax on the 1sq ft inside space

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Devil

But the staff

wont be doing any selling.....

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Re: But the staff

Maybe it's in response to all those NSA and GCHQ requests

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Industrial heritage?

Are they sure they mean King's Cross?

Couple of stations and a gasholder is about it for "industry"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Industrial heritage?

When did you last go to King's Cross?

The UK's only International Railway station and the East Coast mainline terminus are hardly just "a couple of stations" not to mention the proximity to Euston, Paddington and the excellent underground links to the rest of the capital. It seems like a pretty sensible place to put a company and many people are.

Not that I don't want Google to FRO, but that's another matter.

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Re: Industrial heritage?

You complain? That's already not bad at all! The way things are going, we will soon have a massive dump full of rusty filing cabinets formerly used by a firm operating in the marketing industry in the 1980s being labelled as "industrial heritage".

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Re: Industrial heritage?

All that money and it looks like a shoe box on stilts.

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Happy

Re: Industrial heritage?

The current design trends for high tech buildings have all been patented by Apple so they didn't have a lot of choice.

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Re: Industrial heritage?

I second that. After their recent architectural 'upgrades' they're the best two buildings associated with travel in the country (thank you English Heritage). I recommend The Parcel Yard pub upstairs in King's Cross.

And it'll be TWO international stations soon - after the Scottish referendum that is.

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Joke

Missed an opportunity

They should have taken inspriration from its local heritage and built the new HQ as a train like that nuclear train in Octopussy. That was they can send it up north to take advantage of post devolution reduced tax rates every time a big deal is due......

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Re: Missed an opportunity

My thoughts exactly. Some 10 metre high teak veneered copies of Gresley carriages. With the servers in the guards van.

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MJI
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Re: Missed an opportunity

Yes that was at Peterborough.

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MJI
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Re: Missed an opportunity

What would power the emergency generators?

A Valenta?

A VP185?

Any D18-25 would soon be rescued by the DPS.

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Mind where you put that drill

Given the number of train tunnels in the area, I hope the builders are more careful than the ones building near Old Street:

http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/current_investigations_register/130308_old_street_station.cfm

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Anonymous Coward

But they have no staff...

Exactly why does Google need 1,000,000 sq feet of office space, when it's entire UK staff seems to be (if their reports to the HMRC and parliament are to be be believed) a few definitely-not-salespeople, some office cleaners, and a work experience lad?

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Anonymous Coward

ladies of the night

As they don't pay tax either, maybe they'll be working inside the Googlpox too.

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Anonymous Coward

It's no Apple spaceship that's for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

It looks like a 60s council office.

It looks sodding awful IMO

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Bronze badge

Re: It looks like a 60s council office.

Indeed. The best thing we could have done to the brutalist architects was shoot them and burn their buildings and their plans to the ground. Instead they seem to be running riot again.

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Unhappy

Re: It looks like a 60s council office.

Looks like the design has come from a cartoon! You're being generous by saying it's sodding awful. Kevin McCloud would be very upset if he saw this.

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Bronze badge

Re: It looks like a 60s council office.

I have to agree I thought that pic was of what they were going to knock down to make space for something nicer.

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Re: It looks like a 60s council office.

Agreed way to Brutal.

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WTF?

"...taken inspiration from King’s Cross and St Pancras International railway stations..."

I can't see any St Pancras influence in there.

While they do seem to have captured the "concrete shithole" appearance of King's Cross, they seem to have omitted the rather fine brick and iron construction behind its facade.

Also, an artist's impression is supposed to be of how the thing would look, not how it would look if you were to take a picture of it with a wide-angle lens. Unless of course it's supposed to look as if it were designed by Picasso while he was off his face on Absinthe.

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Re: "...taken inspiration from King’s Cross and St Pancras International railway stations..."

"Cough" More Camden Yards than St. Pancras. Wanted to give a shout out to the British folks who burned my home town 200 years and one week ago.

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FAIL

Committed?

Dan Cobley, Google UK’s managing director, said: “... We’re committed to the UK..."

Yeah, committed to avoiding paying taxes here!

I'll bet the Head Office of the building contractor they choose will be based in Ireland or some offshore tax haven too!

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Re: Committed?

Don't worry Dan, they're all for equality. They are equally committed to not paying taxes anywhere!

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...to 11 storeys...

Shouldn't allow low-rise to be built in London, it wastes space.

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Holmes

Re: ...to 11 storeys...

London is mostly built on earlier bits of London, and clay. Unlike New York, where it is rock underneath. So build something too high/heavy and it will sink.

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Re: ...to 11 storeys...

Yes, you're quite right, it's impossible to build large buildings in London that is why it hasn't been done.

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Bronze badge

Re: ...to 11 storeys...

How tall is the Shard?

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Re: ...to 11 storeys...

Depends very much on what part of London you're building on, how close to the river, underlying soil types etc.

Rumour has it that one largish government building that went up in the 60's in the Westminster area had it's planned height drastically reduced at one end part way through construction, as the end nearer the river was showing signs of sinking. So this building ended up one end around 11-12 stories high, the other end 6.

To build higher in London, with the clay subsoil especially, you have to dig much deeper foundations than for a lower building. This has impacts beyond the costs of digging the hole and building the foundations as anywhere in London that a new building goes up there has to be an archaeological survey done of the area - and the deeper you go the more chance that you'll come across something interesting from the past. This leads to everything being held up for months or even years while the archaeologists do their thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Google build a box - Apple build a spaceship.

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Windows

Meanwhile...

...Microsoft concentrate on building a rod for their own back?

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Windows

FUGLY

Just what Kings Cross needs.

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Anonymous Coward

And of course...

Those plans will not be finalized until AFTER the local politicos decide on their tax status.

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Silver badge

Re: And of course...

That's the way stuff like this works. I guarantee they've got an 'alternative' design already drawn up. If the tax laws are changed they'll be forced to use the secondary design instead. It'll be a super high quality presentation of a shack built of old shipping pallets and surrounded by security staff that will illustrate the dystopian hell they'll be forced to live in if their favorable incentives are taken away.

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Stop

Well I wish...

I had £650m to sink into a country that is making me no profit....

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JDX
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Re: Well I wish...

Spending £650m is WHY they will have no profit...

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Anonymous Coward

If they are clever...

They won't actually own the building. It'll be built and paid for by an off-shore subsidiary and rented back to avoid all manner of taxes.

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Re: If they are clever...

Not only will be be rented by they will claim the cost of the rent as a loss on their taxes along with the cost of paying for all their staff as well. Google are consistent, they will find a way of paying no taxes at all anywhere but they continue to show huge profits to their shareholders but never make a decent profit anywhere and never seem to pay taxes on what profits they do declare.

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JDX
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Re: If they are clever...

Cost of rent and staff IS offset from taxable profit you dummy. It's the cornerstone of how company taxation works, the least controversial aspect of the whole thing.

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Re: If they are clever...

Unless you are renting the building from yourself and billing the UK operations $1000/day for each of the staff who are actually employed by Google-Venus, their new off-planet tax haven.

It was one of the few tax scams for small businesses. You were allowed to invest in real estate tax free as part of your pension. So you built a factory and rented it to your own company for well above market rates. The company paid less tax because it made less profit and all the extra money went into your real estate company which you got tax back on because it was a pension fund investment

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Oooh check out the groundscraper!

Must be one of those structures formerly known as a "building"...

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Anonymous Coward

Grant

No doubt Google has filled in all the grant application forms to help pay for this...

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Facepalm

Retro Look

Looks like 9 60s/70s TV sets on end. Not even widescreen

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Thumb Down

"We are going to invest in London"

...is a useful bargaining chip to have when negotiating on tax avoidance in London.

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FAIL

Inspired by Kings Cross & St Pancras?

St Pancras station is one of London's most beautiful buildings, whereas that pic looks like some drab box on a sixties red brick university campus.

They must have had the inspirator mis-calibrated.

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