Verizon’s long-rumored major expansion in Boston is apparently official, though the telecom giant isn’t yet revealing details of its plans.
Developer Boston Properties said Tuesday that it has signed a 20-year lease with Verizon for 440,000 square feet in an office tower to be built over North Station. That’s enough room for as many as 3,000 employees, and will anchor a $540 million office building, the tallest to go up in Boston in nearly two decades.
But while Verizon confirmed the lease — which has been rumored for months in Boston real estate circles — it wasn’t ready Tuesday to talk about what kind of business operations will be run out of the space.
“Verizon is exploring ways to enhance its presence in Boston, a city with which we have a long and meaningful history,” a company spokesman said. “We look forward to providing details soon.”
One possibility of what will be in the space is Oath, Verizon’s digital publishing subsidiary that includes big-name brands such as AOL and Yahoo!, according to sources familiar with the deal.
The company aims to rival Facebook and Google in the mobile and digital advertising business and has signed streaming deals with the NFL, NBA, and major global soccer leagues. Its chief executive, Tim Armstrong, who previously led AOL, grew up in Connecticut and launched a newspaper in Boston early in his career. In recent weeks, tech industry publications have reported that Armstrong and Verizon have discussed spinning off Oath as a separate company, though the company’s CEO last week said they have “no intention” of doing so.
Regardless of what Verizon does there, the deal with Boston Properties will launch construction of a 31-story, 627,000-square-foot office tower overlooking the Zakim Bridge. It’s the third phase of the company’s massive Hub on Causeway project, which also includes a 38-story apartment tower and a seven-story office and retail complex along Causeway Street in front of TD Garden and North Station.
Construction on the tower will begin shortly, a Boston Properties spokeswoman said, and the building should open in 2021. At 510 feet, it would be the tallest office building to go up in Boston since 111 Huntington Ave. opened in 2002.