MANHATTAN — Amid an Internet tech boom that could turn Manhattan into the next silicon alley, powerhouse search engine giant Google is ramping up its recruiting for the New York City office.
The company now employs 2,500 employees in the city, split between sales and engineering. That's after a boom year for Google: they've hired about 7,000 people worldwide in 2011.
Based on information provided by a Google spokesman, a prior story by DNAinfo.com incorrectly reported that the Internet giant had hired 7,000 people solely in New York last year.
Instead, the spokesman said the company has dozens of openings in the city and plans to hire aggressively with a focus in sales and engineering.
Most of those employees sit in a massive massive 2.9 million square foot building at 111th Eighth Ave. on West 15th Street, which Google bought for nearly $2 billion at the end of 2010.
A spokeman for Google said that makes New York the company's second-largest office in the world.
The flux of new employees is the result of a heavy recruiting focus in the northeast, including at highly-regarded engineering schools like MIT and Carnegie Mellon, according to Google spokesman Jordan Newman.
"We hire people where we find good talent," Newman said, adding that they work to build strong relationships with universities.
Newman pointed to the city's emerging status as a hub of the tech industry as a large reason why the company's grown so much in New York. Facebook, Twitter and many others have either set up or expanded offices in the city over the past year, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg cheerleading the growing tech scene.
In December, Bloomberg declared Cornell University as the winner of a $100 million bid to build a state-of-the-art engineering and applied science graduate school on Roosevelt Island.
In addition to their new staffers, Google also acquired four New York-based companies in 2011: Zagat, AdMeld, NextNewNetworks, and RightsFlow. It was unclear how many staffers from each of the companies were absorbed into Google.
Most of Google's New York employees sit on the fifth floor of the Chelsea building, where they have access to amenities like a massage parlor, scooters, a catered cafeteria, and a "jam" room where staffers can play music.
The company has been trying to consolidate its staffers in that building, although it still has office space across the street, inside Chelsea Market. The Chelsea Market space has a ball pit where workers can jump in and let off steam.
With the company likely to expand even more in 2012, they've attempted to make additional room in their 111 Eighth Ave. Chelsea building to house them, Newman said.
That's led them to replace some of the building's pre-existing tenants, who signed on when the building was owned by Jamestown Properties, with more Google offices.
In a Wall Street Journal article last year, Google made it clear it was hoping to either not renew the leases or offer buyouts to several companies with space in the 111 Eighth Ave. building, including Knoll Inc., AboveNet Communications, and Nike.
"We're kind of getting space as we add employees," Newman said. "There are other tenants in the building, so there's only so much space we can expand into."