Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Akamai consolidates its employees in Kendall Square

Governor Charlie Baker joined Cambridge mayor Denise Simmons in Kendall Square today for a groundbreaking celebrating the consolidation of Akamai employees into a single new building there. Boston Properties, responsible for much of the development in that part of the city over the past four decades, will construct the building.

Cambridge mayor Denise Simmons, next to governor Charlie Baker, at the Akamai groundbreaking

Akamai is the back-end of the internet, helping over 3 trillion interactions happen every day on the World Wide Web. Founded in Cambridge by Tom Leighton, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT, and his former graduate student Danny Lewin in 1998, Akamai has grown to 7,000 employees world-wide and over $2 billion in annual revenue. That Akamai is able to stay in Cambridge is no small success for this city of 100,000 people, and today's event reiterates the importance of Kendall Square in the local economy.

As if to underscore that point, another important developer presented their plans for Kendall Square at a separate event last night. MIT's real estate arm came before the housing-advocacy group A Better Cambridge and told a roomful of people their plans to develop the Volpe site, a 14-acre parcel right in the heart of Kendall Square.

An audience member asks a question at last night's ABC event with MIT

While the MIT team is nowhere near breaking any ground on new construction, their process is designed to incorporate as much of the local concerns as possible while sorting through some of the stickier urban design and planning questions this development poses. Right now, they are working through different scenarios dealing with open space, housing, commercial and retail activities.