Microsoft Setting Aside Seattle Expansion Plans

Acknowledges market conditions by ignoring 300,000 square feet

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Sometime this spring, construction of a Seattle development known as 2201 Westlake should be completed.  There will be 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, 134 condominium units, and 302,200 square feet of office space.  Only the office space may remain empty, because Microsoft has backed away from it.

Joseph Tartakoff reports, "For months, the company had been considered to be in the market for additional real estate in the city, and Microsoft had been in negotiations to lease all 300,000 square feet of office space at 2201 Westlake . . . .  But spokesman Lou Gellos said in a statement that the company ‘decided not to continue negotiations because of the (national) economic situation and the changing market conditions.’"

Microsoft Building
 2201 Westlake

This is one of the first concrete signs we’ve seen that Microsoft, which currently has a market cap of $184.7 billion, is adapting to the recession.  It can be interpreted as positive (the company’s financially responsible) or negative (it’s not impervious after all) depending on one’s point of view.

The development’s pretty much all good in light of recent rumors about Microsoft making 15,000 layoffs, though.  If the corporation can save money on real estate, more people are likely to keep their jobs.  And even if the firings now occur, Microsoft’s at least indicated that it doesn’t value its employees less than extra office space.

As for the idea that Microsoft’s cutting back too much, it can probably be dismissed.  There are fresh rumors about a Windows 7 push, and Tartakoff adds, "Microsoft . . . is building a new campus for its Entertainment and Devices Division in Redmond, and the company also owns property in Issaquah that it could use for long-term expansion."

Microsoft Setting Aside Seattle Expansion Plans
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