The Cambridge City Council is set tonight to discuss Google's possible expansion in Kendall Square. To recap:
· The Internet hegemon proposed expanding by 50,000 square feet in Kendall Square by building connector buildings between Four and Five Cambridge Center as well as another one between Five and Three Cambridge Center, where Google is currently located.
· The City Council balked as the expansion would eat up public rooftop space.
· Google and its developer, Boston Properties, said it would replace and expand the public rooftop space nearby.
· The City Council and sundry advisory committees have still said that won't work.
· In the meantime, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and private developers have jumped into the fray, inviting Google to move across the Charles to the Innovation District in Southie.
Where Googlegate stands now: The East Cambridge Planning Team voted unanimously last Thursday to recommend that a covenant for the rooftop garden be extended to 2050, and that Google/Boston Properties meet certain housing requirements on Ames Street before the connectors can be built. Basically, the ball's in Google's court to either meet the fresh demands or to expand beyond Kendall Square in Boston or elsewhere (or go back to the drawing board, which seems unlikely given their eagerness to expand).
Google, in fact, has been pushing out tenants of its mammoth East Coast HQ in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. For instance, it bought the Lifetime network out of its 71,000-square-foot lease so it would leave a lot sooner than its 2021 lease expiration. Might Google, then, just take all its expansionary marbles and leave the Boston area altogether?
· Google Battle Heats Up [Herald]
· Google Hits Space Bars [Wall Street Journal]
· Boston Courts Google—Can Kendall Square Stand It? [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston All In on Google Move from Cambridge [Curbed Boston]
[111 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan; edenpictures via Flickr]