Akamai Technologies, one of the biggest companies in Cambridge, has decided to consolidate its six offices into a single campus-like facility in Kendall Square. The decision means one of the largest potential prizes for landlords in Boston hoping to fill their new office towers with a premier corporate name is no longer available.
At nearly 500,000 square feet, Akamai is one of the biggest tenants in the market for Boston-area office space, and in a year-long search looked at potential headquarters sites on both sides of the Charles River, as well as suburban satellite locations.
But the company has decided to remain in the neighborhood where it grew up, said Erica Chapman, Akamai’s vice president for global real estate and workforce productivity.
“There’s a level of comfort here,” Chapman said.
She said Akamai hasn’t settled on an exact location, but hopes to have a deal in place by the end of the year. The company considered commuting patterns, talent recruitment and the chance to be alongside cutting-edge neighbors in Kendall Square, Chapman said. But it also wants to consolidate employees, now spread across six buildings, into one place, to boost collaboration and corporate culture.
So Akamai’s in the market for a new building – or buildings – in Kendall, looking for 500,000 square feet, and maybe more. She said Akamai hasn’t settled on an exact location, but hopes to have a deal in place by the end of the year.
It should have no shortage of choices. There are several big projects in the pipeline at that size in the booming business district, as well as space that could open up if other tenants move. The company is considering both new construction and existing office space, Chapman said.
“We’re having preliminary conversations with several developers and landlords,” she said. “It’s very easy. They just reach out to me.”
Most of Akamai’s current leases expire in 2019, meaning any move is likely three years away.
As for paying the rent in one of the most expensive office markets on the East Coast – Class A office space in East Cambridge hit a record of $70 per square foot in 2015, according to real estate firm JLL – Chapman said the price is worth it if it helps the company perform better.
“It’s a premium market,” she said. “But it’s less about the premium rent and more about making sure that we’re optimizing the space as best we can.”