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Google employees will return to Kendall Square, in a big way

People working at Google's Cambridge offices in 2018.
People working at Google's Cambridge offices in 2018.Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff file

Google said Thursday that it is building out more Kendall Square office space than it had intended to, even before the pandemic caused it to shift much of its staff to remote work.

The announcement, which comes as employers across the region are puzzling over how and when to safely return to offices, is another signal that the technology giant remains eager to bring its workforce back in person. And the company is willing to invest substantially in real estate to make that possible.

The tech giant said it is adding 38,000 square feet to its offices at 4 and 5 Cambridge Center. It also will take over 170,000 square feet that it’s renovating at 8 Cambridge Center. The moves follow the 380,000 square feet on 14 floors in development at 3 Cambridge Center, an expansion announced in 2019.

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All told, the company said, it will have more than a million square feet in Cambridge, a footprint that it said will allow it to eventually double its approximately 1,900-person workforce in the area.

“Coming together in person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture, and it will be an important part of our future,” chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a blog post published Thursday discussing the additional efforts in Cambridge and around the country.

The company said it would spend more than $7 billion on its US offices and data centers this year and create at least 10,000 new full-time jobs.

Google previously said it plans to have workers return to the office in September, and it plans to test a hybrid model in which employees would be expected to work at least three days a week in the office, but would be allowed to work from home on other days.

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Some companies are reducing their office space, with the expectation that fewer employees will use it once people return to work. Others are standing pat, looking to see what patterns emerge after the pandemic.

But several local tech employers are expecting to occupy bigger spaces than the ones they left when COVID-19 took hold.

DraftKings, the Boston online sports-betting firm, said it is expanding its 222 Berkeley St. headquarters, adding about 20,000 square feet one floor below the 105,000-square-foot office it has now. The company has said the addition makes room for 160 more employees.

And Drizly, the alcohol delivery company being acquired by Uber, is expanding its physical space, even as it looks to shift to a more flexible model when its employees return to the office.

Drizly plans to take on 30,665 square feet at 501 Boylston St., also in the Back Bay, according to JLL, a management company involved in the deal. The company will sublease that space from Aquent, a staffing firm, and it will move to the office from a smaller location nearby.

JLL said the new space “features an open floor plan with completely unassigned desking, a concept likely to be adopted by many companies embracing a hybrid work model going forward.”

Material from The New York Times was used in this report.



Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.