Apple’s Boston-Area Lease Carves Out Room for About 65

We know that the most important company in tech has been growing its office in the Boston area as it continues to build a speech-recognition engineering team on MIT’s doorstep.

Now, we have a few more numbers to fill in the blanks. Documents filed with the local government show that Apple has leased about 11,500 square feet of office space on the 13th floor of One Broadway, an office tower owned by MIT that sits at the edge of the famed university’s campus in Cambridge, MA.

If you allow about 175 square feet of space per employee, which is one typical commercial real estate estimate, that would leave room for about 65 employees. That means Apple’s outpost in the Boston area is still dwarfed by the presences of other tech titans like Microsoft and Google, each of which have 800 or more employees in the same neighborhood.

(In fact, Apple’s office is on one of the floors that Google originally occupied as it poured more money into a branch office here several years ago.)

Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon also have offices in the area. And in an era where tech companies are busily throwing big salaries and generous perks at talented engineers, it makes sense that Apple would want to be in the competition for any MIT-trained techies—or employees from other tech companies—who make the Boston area home.

It’s also no mistake that Apple’s office here is stocked with notable names from the speech-recognition field.

Speech-tech company Nuance, which is commonly known for products like the Dragon speech-recognition software, has partnered with Apple on Siri, the company’s virtual smartphone assistant. But Apple also has a history of taking important technology in-house, rather than relying on outside providers, and its speech team in Boston was built with a foundation of Nuance veterans, as I reported previously.

The Boston region is relatively rich with speech-tech talent, whether at MIT, Nuance, or a number of other companies. LinkedIn listings show that veterans of AT&T Research and BBN Technologies, for example, have joined Apple’s speech team in Cambridge.

Apple did not return an e-mail seeking comment on the Boston-area office.

The fact that Apple has been growing its team here was previously reported by The Boston Globe, based on interviews with unnamed commercial real-estate sources. Apple’s filing with local officials, signed by corporate real estate manager Dana Pesce, adds a bit more detail to what we know about a still-secretive outpost.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if Apple rolls out the red carpet for any sort of event marking its growth in the Boston area, like its neighbor Facebook did on the one-year anniversary of its own formerly hush-hush office here.

Here’s a copy of that Apple lease document:

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