All is not hunky-dory re: Google's expansion to 300,000 square feet in Kendall Square. The matter seemed to be settled after a 7-2 vote in March by the Cambridge City Council. But the opposition to the expansion, which includes eliminating a popular rooftop garden at Cambridge Center, is dying hard, squeezing every last pip of hope for blocking Google's plans.
The latest glimmer came Monday evening at a meeting of the board of directors of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. It was, astoundingly enough, the first time in two years the board had met and the first for all five members of the board. The members discussed the Google expansion, including with reps from the search engine's landlord, Boston Properties, and the fact that the City Council had already signed off on it, though the board's vote is supposed to come before the Council's on something like that. That the process went backward did not sit well with attendees at the meeting. Cambridge Day's Marc Levy was there and recorded this:
The audience, packed with residents who’d followed the story from the start, served as a sort of Greek chorus for the proceedings, shaking their heads, muttering darkly or even calling out “No!” when the testimony of officials or executives seemed off-base or deceptive. They responded with alarm to claims of an extensive process and when Boston Properties’ Sheehan said the East Cambridge Planning Team’s board had changed its opinion over a weekend even though after the full presentation “we didn’t have any further contact with the organization or its board until the City Council meeting.” (A board member confirmed Tuesday that this was untrue, with the contact coming through the company’s lawyer.)
The fresh round of rancor appears unlikely to derail the expansion—the CRA board stressed that the Council's vote trumped anything it could do (and it wasn't amenable to turning back Google and Boston Properties). Plans for the expansion are already out there (see renderings above), and the Internet hegemon has promised to not only replace the public space gobbled through the expansion but to add more of it as well as housing.
We suppose there's always Bing. Is Ask Jeeves still around?
· Despite Urging, New Board Moves Cautiously on Kendall Square Proposals [Day]
· Cambridge Hits Ctrl+Alt+Dlt on Google: Expansion O.K.'d [Curbed Boston]
· Google Obviously Feeling Lucky in Kendall Square [Curbed Boston]
[Sophia Tsakmaklis for Curbed Boston]