When Salesforce completes its deal to buy Tableau Software for $15.7 billion, establishing Seattle as its self-proclaimed HQ2 in the process, it will greatly expand its influence in the region’s tech scene as one of the largest out-of-town employers.
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Combined, the two companies will have more than 3,100 employees in the Seattle region and collectively occupy north of 650,000 square feet of office space, according to GeekWire research. About two-thirds of that presence is Tableau, which is growing rapidly after rebounding from a rocky period a couple years ago that saw it shed office space and cut job forecasts.
Seattle is home to more than 100 engineering outposts housed by companies based around the globe. Facebook and Google have the largest office footprints, each with millions of square feet and room to grow.
But with Tableau in the fold, Salesforce will have a similar headcount to those two companies in the Seattle region — and that number should increase.
In a recent interview with GeekWire, Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky said Salesforce and Tableau plan to grow internationally and in the greater Seattle area.
“The intent is for the existing Salesforce business and the existing Tableau business, and therefore the joint overall business, to continue to grow rapidly,” Selipsky said. “And none of those businesses will be able to grow rapidly without continuing to grow our employee base rapidly … I’m really excited for the growth. I think we’re all going to have a really fun ride.”
When the deal was announced, Salesforce co-founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff gushed over the Seattle region’s pool of skilled tech workers. He said he has long “quested” to make the Seattle area a strategic part of Salesforce.
“I am a huge admirer of the talent market in Seattle,” Benioff said on a conference call. “You know, there’s very few places in the world today where you can put together a software company at scale.”
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New growth means the companies could need some more office space in the near future. Tableau was rumored several months ago to be on the hunt for additional office space, but that gossip has since cooled. A new building is going up across the street from one of Tableau’s existing offices in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, and that site would make sense as a release valve as the company continues to staff up.
If Salesforce wants to grow near its current office in downtown Bellevue, Wash. it is pretty much out of luck, as there is virtually no available office space in existing buildings and others under construction.
However, there are multiple floors available in downtown Seattle at the Rainier Square project, which Amazon put back on the market earlier this year. Amazon leased the striking tower in 2017 but backed out of it earlier this year amid a shift of its growth to nearby Bellevue, opening up a huge block of office space for fast-growing companies.
Salesforce has not shown any signs of interest in Rainier Square, according to real estate sources. But if it really wants to make a splash in its new HQ2, taking space from the company that coined the term could be potential move.
Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau is expected to close in the third quarter. Following the acquisition, Tableau will remain headquartered in Seattle, operating independently under the Tableau brand, and led by Selipsky.
On Friday, the companies disclosed an email to Tableau employees detailing the steps Salesforce is taking to introduce itself following the announcement of the acquisition. A survey discussed in the email found that 52 percent of Tableau employees are “excited or very excited” in the wake of the deal, while 22 percent said they were “concerned or very concerned.”
Here’s a breakdown of the companies’ combined Seattle-area presence:
- Salesforce said it has more than 1,000 people in roughly 200,000 square feet of office space spread across a big office in Bellevue, Wash. and a smaller satellite outpost in Spokane, Wash.
- About half Tableau’s 4,200 employees are based in the Seattle area, in a combined 450,000 square feet of office space, according to GeekWire research. Tableau’s headquarters are located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, and it has space in several other buildings nearby, the company said. Tableau also has a big office in Kirkland, Wash. that it is just starting to populate.
Here’s how Tableau and Salesforce’s footprint compares to some of the other large engineering centers in the region:
- Google said earlier this year it has about 3,400 employees in the region. But in the next few months it will move into a new South Lake Union office complex under construction in Amazon’s backyard that could accommodate an estimated 4,600 to 6,200 employees, using industry standard ratios of about 150 to 200 square feet per person. Google is also growing rapidly in nearby Kirkland, Wash., where it has long been rumored to be taking a huge chunk of space in a complex called Kirkland Urban that could bring the company’s total current and future office footprint in the region to nearly 2 million square feet.
- Facebook told GeekWire last month it has more than 3,000 employees in Seattle. However, it just opened the first in a pair of new buildings that will have room for another 3,000 people combined. Facebook revealed its Seattle-area footprint for the first time earlier this year — 2.7 million square feet and counting as of January. Between current and future office space, the social giant could easily top 10,000 people in the region within a few years — just like Google.
- Apple is playing catch up to its fellow tech giants, but made a big statement last week. The company plans to grow to about 2,000 people at a new office complex in Seattle that totals 630,000 square feet.