East will soon meet west where Microsoft is concerned, and we’re not talking about the company’s inroads into mainland China. The Microserfs are venturing westward, away from the garden walls of the nuclear eastside campus and local Bel-Red offices to occupy space in Seattle’s gentrified Pioneer Square and South Lake Union districts.
With the addition of three new locations, the Westlake/Terry building in South Lake Union, 111 South Jackson in Pioneer Square, and 505 Union Station across from Qwest Field, Microsoft will increase its downtown corps to around 1,400 people.
“One goal is to better accommodate Microsoft employees who live in Seattle, said Chris Liddell. Microsoft’s chief financial officer at a news conference. Todd Bishop reports that “In addition to the traditional office space, the company is creating 150 “touch down” spaces in the Westlake/Terry building — small spots where employees who work in Redmond can sit down, plug in a laptop and work in Seattle for a couple of hours when they have a meeting in the city or want to avoid rush hour.”
Microsoft has also unveiled plans for its own regional bus service, which will shuttle as many as 1,000 employees a day to Redmond and back from their neighborhoods in Seattle and on the Eastside.
Microsoft’s lease in South Lake Union is a reunion of sorts for the company’s histroric affiliation with company co-founder Paul Allen and his Vulcan Inc. investment company which is redeveloping a significant portion of the South Lake Union area. The company’s move into Seattle is happening “in a big way,” according to Liddel.
Rival Google recently broke ground on a lakefront business park in Kirkland and is shoring up engingeering operations in Fremont and Bellevue. [24×7]