With a cast of dignitaries front and center, including Gov. Jay Inslee and Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, Google unveiled Tuesday plans to double its campus size in Kirkland by 2015, constructing two connected buildings on the other side of the Cross Kirkland Corridor adjacent to its location on 6th Street.
Though other municipalities have recently asked Kirkland to reconsider its plans to remove the track on the Cross-Kirkland Trail, the announcement and preliminary drawings for the project highlight in part the economic benefit to Kirkland of converting the 5.7-mile track to a multi-use trail that makes the site more attractive to companies like Google.
Currently, the Internet giant employs about 1,000 people in Washington state, and more than 60 percent of those people work at the Google Campus, said Chee Chew, site director for the Kirkland campus.
"This will double-down our investment here," Chew said.
Mayor Joan McBride remarked that Google has been a great addition not only to Kirkland but to the state's economy.
"Google brings $3.5 billion in economic impact to our region and our state," she said.
The new construction will include two buildings, totaling about 180,000 square feet of expansion and interconnected by a covered courtyard, forming an L-shape. The buildings will have two levels of work space and two levels of below ground parking. The project also will include a road that will cross the trail, and multiple trail improvements, Chew said.
SRM Development is handling the project, which is targeted to reach at least LEED Gold standards. Inslee praised the aspiration to LEED standards. "I’ve been called a hard-core energy geek," which Inslee said makes him especially excited about this project. "This facility, because of Google's leadership, will have a 44 percent decrease in water, 41 percent lighting use decrease, and a composting system throughout building," Inslee said.
Dave Thompson, a principal at SRM, said the company is, "In full design mode now." The company hopes to have plans at end of June or first of July, then start excavation end of December, and deliver the project by the second quarter 2015. Thompson said designers have met with three neighborhood groups, and are committed to making the project as minimally invasive as possible for the neighborhoods, too.
"This is not our first rodeo," Thompson said. "We build in neighborhoods up and down the coast all the time. We will do what it takes to make this project go as smoothly as possible."
By the time the project is complete, the staff in Google's current Kirkland campus will have outgrown the current campus buildings, Chew said.
Inslee said that it's no surprise the company would expand in Kirkland, citing quality of life for residents. "Kirkland is more than just a great name at Costco," he said.