In terms of size, the new location is an indisputable upgrade. The Spruce Goose hangar—where Howard Hughes’s Hughes H-4 Hercules was built—is three times the size of the company’s Frank Gehry-designed offices in Venice, where Google has held offices since 2011.
The move to Playa Vista has been a long time coming. Google leased the 319,000-square-foot, seven-story-tall space in 2016.
At the time, the company planned to build structures inside the hangar, creating three stories and a mezzanine, the Los Angeles Times reported. That was expected to result in 525,000 square feet of office space inside the hangar.
Google’s new home was owned by The Ratkovich Company until 2016, when it was sold, reportedly to Japanese investors, who paid more than $300 million for the hangar and three adjacent buildings. At the time, all four buildings were already leased to Google for a 16-year period.
Google also spent $120 million in 2014 to purchase 12 acres of vacant land right next to the hangar.
The Spruce Goose hangar was built in 1943 to house the wooden H-4 Hercules, aka the Spruce Goose, an enormous flying boat designed by Hughes’ company during World War II, while it was under construction. (It flew once, for one minute, in 1947.)
The Spruce Goose now resides in an aviation museum in Oregon.