KIRKLAND — With backpacks hanging from the wall on one floor and fish nets from the ceiling on another, Google’s newest office is paying homage to the industries driving the state where it is planning to expand.
Google opened the next phase of its Kirkland office space Thursday, part of a 760,000-square-foot campus that will feature four buildings. The eight-floor building is in Kirkland Urban, a shopping mall with waterfront views, burgers, dumplings and now, a Google office with a dog lounge, movie theater, kitchenettes on almost every floor, and a piano in the corner of what it calls the “Lighthouse Lounge.”
The grand opening also marked Google’s pledge to invest $100 million in Washington state in 2022, part of a $9.5 billion nationwide push to build office space and data centers expected to create 12,000 new jobs. In Kirkland, Google said its investment will create engineering jobs at the company, construction jobs to build the facilities and business for the restaurants and shops already populating the Kirkland Urban mall.
“At Google, we are doubling down on the states we call home,” site lead Paco Galanes said.
Since opening its first Washington office in 2004, Google has grown to four campuses in the Puget Sound region: in South Lake Union, Fremont, Kirkland’s Sixth Street campus and Kirkland Urban. Google has more than 7,200 workers across those campuses.
The central building in Google’s Kirkland Urban campus that opened Thursday features floors devoted to Washington’s legacy industries, including fishing, shipping, aerospace, tourism, technology and timber. The nets from the ceiling on the seventh floor mark the fishing industry. The backpacks on floor four’s kitchen wall represent tourism.
The sixth floor, devoted to shipping, features footstools made from moving blankets. A public space on the aerospace-themed fifth floor is designed to look like an airport lounge, complete with air-conditioning vents that offer the sound and feel of an airplane cabin. Across the hall, an airplane trolley is filled with board games and a wall is covered with cards from decks airlines used to give passengers.
In Kirkland Urban, Google has “two more buildings to play with,” said facilities manager Federico Olmedo. It expects to open the south building in 2023 and the east tower in 2025. The north building, which opened in April 2021, features floors devoted to infrastructure, Olmedo said.
Google declined to share the cost of its Kirkland Urban campus or how many employees would work at that location.
Known for its employee amenities, Google’s north building includes a wellness center, gym and massage area, Olmedo said. The central tower has a dog lounge, with dog bowls hanging from the wall and workspaces inside.
Google started bringing workers back to the office at the beginning of April in a hybrid format, with most employees expected in the office three days a week. While touring the new office space Thursday, Google officials maintained that hybrid work would remain an option.
To accommodate more employees as the company grows, Olmedo said some of the office space in the central building features movable partitions, so employees can silo off space for their team no matter the size.
Google is also expanding its South Lake Union campus with Block 38, a 330,000-square-foot building expected to open this year. In Kirkland, it expects to build a campus on the site of the former Lee Johnson Chevrolet dealership but did not disclose a timeline for development.
Most of Google’s Washington campuses are for engineering, but the buildings aren’t split up by focus area, site lead Galanes said.
Google’s $100 million Washington investment will go toward office space and data centers, Galanes said. He could not disclose how many workers in the new office building would transfer from other Google locations and how many were likely to be new hires.
While expanding its footprint, Google has also committed to operating on carbon-free energy in all its data centers and offices by 2030. Its new Kirkland Urban campus is on track to reach LEED Gold certification, a framework from the U.S. Green Building Council awarded to buildings that rank highly for efficiency, carbon emissions and health.
Google’s commitment has “set a template for performance for the rest of corporate America,” Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday. “You’ve set the bar that we want everyone to aspire to.”
In Kirkland, Mayor Penny Sweet said the Google campus is “a glimpse of what the future can be.”