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Brightcove joins move to Boston waterfront

The entryway to the Atlantic Wharf office building at 280 Congress St. The entryway to the Atlantic Wharf office building at 280 Congress St. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
By Casey Ross
Globe Staff / July 5, 2011

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Brightcove Inc., a fast-growing purveyor of digital media products, is the latest company to relocate to a new tower on the Boston waterfront, bringing another marquee name to the up-and-coming neighborhood.

The 280-employee firm has signed a deal to move from Cambridge into the new Atlantic Wharf complex, where it expects to hire 120 workers to fill out its new space, Brightcove executives said.

The company, which makes online video tools and applications for mobile devices, will occupy two floors of a seven-story building overlooking the Fort Point Channel, joining a growing cluster of technology firms. The move is scheduled for next April.

“There are a lot of cool young companies in the area that have great backers and are enjoying great success,’’ said Chris Menard, Brightcove’s chief financial officer. “We’re excited to be part of that.’’

(The New York Times Co., owner of The Boston Globe, is an investor in privately held Brightcove.)

The 82,000-square-foot lease is a boost for Boston Properties Inc., the real estate firm that developed the Atlantic Wharf complex at the corner of Congress Street and Atlantic Avenue. The development includes a 31-story office tower surrounded by low-rise buildings with additional offices, residences, and restaurants.

The complex, already anchored by financial services giant Wellington Management Co., is nearly full now, and is preparing for its first restaurants to open later this year. The steakhouse Smith & Wollensky will open out of the Fort Point Channel side, while chef Jody Adams is planning a new restaurant, Trade, along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

While Wellington keeps the complex anchored to the city’s mainstay financial sector, the Brightcove lease helps link it to the emerging innovation district across the channel in South Boston’s Seaport District, which is attracting a growing roster of medical and technology companies. Another new tenant at Atlantic Wharf is Communispace Corp., a social media branding firm that plans to bring 350 employees from current offices in Watertown.

“I think these [leases] speak to a new fluidity in the way companies are thinking about their locations,’’ said Bryan Koop, regional manager for Boston Properties.

“There used to be hard and fast rules that certain companies were supposed to be in certain locations. But the key driver for companies now is seeking talent and having a location that is going to be a magnet to attract and retain employees.’’

The Brightcove relocation also represents something of a role reversal unfolding between Boston and Cambridge. Kendall Square, a longtime incubator for early-stage companies, is now playing host to behemoths such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and many large pharmaceutical firms. Meanwhile, Boston, known as a hub for old-line financial and law firms, is now attracting younger business firms in fast-growing industries such as biotechnology and clean energy.

Also moving to the Seaport District from Cambridge is drug maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has leased sizable space in Fan Pier, a planned complex of restaurants, homes, and offices next to the Institute for Contemporary Art, and just a short walk from the Atlantic Wharf complex.

“There is a real desire in the market for fun, creative environments near transit and with big floor plates, and [Atlantic Wharf] really fits the bill,’’ said John Boyle, an executive with FHO Partners, which represented Brightcove in its move to the complex.

“A lot of the younger growth-oriented companies are not interested in traditional office space.’’

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has been particularly aggressive in wooing start-ups to move to the waterfront, where he is trying to advance redevelopment plans that languished in the down economy.

“Boston continues to be an attractive place for innovative companies to locate, because our collaboration can’t be beat,’’ Menino said in a prepared statement. “Brightcove’s new headquarters at Atlantic Wharf will allow them to connect with the cluster of companies and amenities that are growing and thriving in the innovation district.’’

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.