This Month in Seattle Tech News: Google Bets Big on a Kirkland Campus

Google has introduced the next phase of its 760,000-square-foot Kirkland Urban development, and with it, put another stake in the ground for naps at the office.

The company known for a workplace culture that embraces Ping-Pong and slumber pods officially opened two buildings last week in the Seattle suburb. Two more will get topped-off by 2025. “We believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.

It may seem like a weird statement to make right now, as many tech workers shun a full return to offices. The investment is substantial: $9.5 billion across the U.S. this year. About $100 million is earmarked for Washington state, where Google’s expanding in South Lake Union and adding yet another site in Kirkland.

But Google is hardly alone in making it. Tech giants have bought up a ton of space across the region—more than any other metro area recently—in hopes that office perks can lure workers back from their couches.

The 7,200-plus Googlers in Puget Sound won’t get a Lizzo concert like their colleagues in the Bay Area. But a mini-movie theater and dog lounge may sway the suburban set to spend more time IRL than just the three days a week the company’s requiring. Others might take one look at a fishing net and backpacks on a wall and want to head for the hills (and lakes).

But in Kirkland, the company’s pitch is what’s outside of the office, too. New apartment developments frame the Kirkland Urban campus. Dough Zone, Topgolf, a QFC, and a Shake Shack all beckon from below office spaces, along with salons, a fitness center, and preschool. The winding paths of adjacent Peter Kirk Park invite all those multicolored Google bikes.

It’s a development that’s “designed around the 18-hour day—where life doesn’t stop before, during, or after work.” We’ll see if the office still fits into that day.

Bits and bytes. Karat helps Black software engineers secure gigs, and now Serena Williams is helping the Seattle startup. Amazon makes a $30 million commitment to startups with underrepresented founders. And more evidence we love to compost: Another green way to die has sprouted, this time in Auburn, with an offer of carbon-neutral funerals. Its name? Earth.

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