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Google cancels plan for NY City retail store despite spending $6m on renovations

With Apple’s Manhattan retail presence well established and Microsoft recently opening a flagship store in the NY City borough, we started to wonder what became of the plush SoHo premises Google bought last year apparently with the intention of making a splash in the retail space.

Turns out the company has scrapped plans to open a store, despite spending around $6 million on renovating the site.

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The news comes courtesy of NY Ctiy business site Crain’s, which says the Mountain View company is now in the process of trying to lease the location for $2.25 million a year.

Google has spent the last year making various changes to the structure, including the removal of part of the ground floor “to create a sunken area in the rear with soaring ceilings, glass skylights and large windows – exposing the brick walls, columns and steel beams of the landmarked building,” Crain’s reported.

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While the company has dabbled in retail over the years with mainly store-within-a-store initiatives or pop-up places, the purchase of the 8,000-square-foot Greene Street building – just a couple of blocks from Apple’s SoHo store on Prince Street – looked very much like a move toward creating its very first standalone store for showcasing Google gadgets such as its Nexus mobile devices, as well as Chromebooks, Android Wear smartwatches, and a range of tech accessories.

And of course, this time last year it was thought the outlet might also offer Google Glass, though like the proposed store, that too hasn’t proceeded quite as expected.

It’s not the first time Google has apparently taken a second look at plans to showcase its products in the real world – in 2013 there was much speculation that the company was looking to open an interactive space on extravagantly designed barges. However, the ambitious plan was apparently scrapped last year.