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Google reportedly axes plans for New York City retail store

Google reportedly axes plans for New York City retail store

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Sinvin Real Estate

Google has given up on plans to open its first ever physical retail store in New York City, according to a report today from Crain's New York Business. The company signed a lease on a 5,442-square-foot space on Greene Street in Manhattan's SoHo district last year. The move was an apparent bid to match Apple and Microsoft with a retail store featuring Google-made products. Google is now trying to sublease the space at an annual rent of $2.25 million, the report says, after spending $6 million on renovating it.

The Greene Street store was to sell Chromebooks, Nexus phones and tablets, and other products the company offers through its online Play Store. Yet it was also to serve as an art gallery-style showcase for products similar to how Apple Stores and Microsoft brick-and-mortar spaces serve as idealistic real-world shops and store-sized advertisements. Microsoft just launched a flagship NYC store of its own in September near Apple's famous 5th Avenue cube, and it's starting to expand its retail presence around the globe.

A Google store would have competed with Apple and Microsoft

It's worth noting Google tried and failed to launch a product showcase two years ago that would live on the deck of a moving barge in locales like the San Francisco Bay. It’s possible that Google is looking for another space in New York, but it hasn’t announced any plans to do so. Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Google has always had a more confusing relationship with its hardware than other tech companies. It's treated its products sometimes as a reference design, as with its Nexus phones, and other times as a serious device line that sells many millions of units, like the Chromecast. A Google retail space would have cemented the company's hardware ambitions in some respects, especially amid conflicting reports on its plans to merge its Chrome OS software and its Android operating system.