Sunday, June 23, 2024

Plans for an Education First building in NorthPoint drew approval from the Planning Board in May 2010. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Education First can expand its North American headquarters in NorthPoint, thanks to a law backed by Cambridge city councillor and State Rep. Tim Toomey and state Sens. DiDomenico and Anthony Petruccelli and signed into law Thursday by Gov. Deval Patrick.

EF, an educational services provider that employs more than 30,000 people worldwide, will build a 300,000-square-foot expansion next to its current campus in the North Point area of Cambridge. The company has said it will add 400 permanent jobs there upon completion and has agreed to use union labor to build the expansion, creating some 300 construction jobs.

Cambridge’s City Council approved the plan in June 2010, when Dean F. Stratouly, president of developer The Congress Group, said he hoped to get fast-track approval at the state level that will allow the building to open for business in the spring of 2012. The project is self-funded, which helped speed its progress.

“They are out of space,” Stratouly told the council during the meeting’s public comment period. “They approached me six months ago and said, ‘We would like to stay in Cambridge, but we need a new building.’”

The footprint of the 10-story building is now 28,000 square feet beside a 75,000-square-foot parking lot, including a private auditorium and a public Lingo Bar & Restaurant — another mirror image, since there is a Lingo in the current Education First building that would stay open. The Congress Group would be solely responsible for building several public tennis courts and help build a skate park, all nearby, Stratouly said.

The initial design of the building — a block of alternating white and windows interrupted in the center by a liquid-looking atrium of gleaming glass — won awed approval from the Planning Board in May.

This post drew significant amounts of material from a press release. It was updated Aug. 5, 2011, to correct the size of the building EF plans to build.