In 2007, Microsoft planted a flag in Seattle, announcing its intention to have approximately 1,400 employees spread around seven locations in the city. Now, nine years later, Microsoft may be on the verge of exiting Seattle entirely.
This week, Kilroy Realty Corp., the owner of the Westlake Terry building in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood announced that Amazon swooped in and signed a 12-year lease for the six-story structure where Microsoft currently leases about 126,000 square feet.
For Amazon, it is the latest example of the online retail giant growing at warp speed, leasing office buildings left and right even as it continues to build out its massive campus in the Denny Triangle neighborhood just north of downtown. But for Microsoft, it leaves some uncertainty about the company’s future plans in Seattle. Microsoft issued a statement Tuesday, saying it intends to stay in the building until its lease comes up in a little more than two years.
“The Microsoft lease at Westlake Terry is up for renewal in February 2019 and we currently have no plans to exit Westlake early,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Beyond that, Microsoft isn’t talking. The company would not say if it plans to move into any other Seattle office space.
Several commercial real estate sources told GeekWire that they haven’t noticed or heard of Microsoft looking around for any more office space in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so as the Westlake Terry lease expiration approaches. We’ve heard Microsoft might be taking a look at a couple of floors at the Lincoln Square expansion complex in downtown Bellevue, but it is unclear how serious that possibility is.
Prior to the recession, Microsoft rapidly diversified its footprint, opening offices in cities close to its Redmond, Wash. headquarters campus on the other side of Lake Washington. But in recent years, Microsoft has closed ranks and moved teams out of other cities and building up its campus to accommodate more people.