In a sign that Google (GOOG) is gearing up to hire more people in the largest U.S. city, the company on Wednesday announced it has bought a 15-story building in New York. Google paid more than $1.8 billion for the building, which formerly housed the Port Authority headquarters, according to The New York Times.

The company has been leasing space in the Chelsea building since 2006 and almost 10% of its employees work there. With 2.9 million square feet spread over a city block, the building -- at 111 Eighth Ave. -- is larger than the Empire State Building.

"Now we have more than 2,000 Googlers working on a variety of projects in both sales and engineering -- and we're hiring across the board," the company posted on its blog.

New York State Common Retirement Fund, investment groups Jamestown and Taconic Investment Partners formerly owned the building.

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