By TODD BISHOP
Yahoo Inc. has leased a large chunk of office space in downtown Bellevue — giving itself enough room for 500 to 600 employees a short drive from rival Microsoft Corp.’s headquarters.
The long-rumored lease agreement, at the One Twelfth @ Twelfth complex, was completed earlier this week, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., will take four floors in the Bellevue complex’s East building.
It won’t be a subtle presence: The lease gives Yahoo the right to put its logo on the building, visible from Interstate 405.
The office should put Yahoo in a better position to recruit engineers in the Seattle region. Google has followed a similar strategy with offices in Kirkland and Fremont, attracting a large number of Microsoft employees and University of Washington computer-science graduates.
In establishing the office, Yahoo may be “making a show of force, if you will,” said economist Dick Conway, co-publisher of the Puget Sound Economic Forecaster. He pointed out that it would be easier for a rival to lure Microsoft employees and others from the region to a branch office here, rather than requiring them to relocate to the Bay Area.
One of Yahoo’s recent hires in the region was a longtime Microsoft employee, Korby Parnell, who took a job as a senior product manager on the Yahoo Platforms & Technology team. Parnell said previously that he plans to remain in the Seattle region.
Up to this point, Yahoo had a relatively small presence in the region, with only a handful of employees. A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment on the lease Thursday, saying the company is in a quiet period before its quarterly earnings release.
Yahoo’s online recruiting site lists several open positions for the Bellevue location, with job descriptions that hint at the areas the office will focus on. For example, one job posting is for an engineering position on “the team building the framework for the next generation of Yahoo!’s internet platform.”
The Yahoo lease is for 115,000 square feet on floors three through six of the building, at Northeast 12th Street and 112th Avenue Northeast, said the person familiar with the deal. That’s slightly less space than the company had originally been rumored to be leasing.
Yahoo is expected to move into one floor within 90 days, and it will take possession of the rest of the floors in stages over the next year.
In the meantime, Yahoo is also leasing 15,000 square feet of temporary space in another building in the same Bellevue complex, to give itself extra room.
The broader Yahoo lease is the latest in a series of big real estate moves by technology giants in the Seattle region, and on the Eastside in particular.
Microsoft leased two Bellevue complexes in April. That will give the software company room for an additional 4,000 employees, in addition to the more than 35,000 it already employs in the region. Subsequently, the company announced plans to expand in Seattle, as well.
And in August, Google confirmed plans to lease a 195,000-square-foot, three-building campus under development in Kirkland. The Mountain View, Calif., search giant, which expanded to Kirkland in 2004, already employs more than 400 people at a separate location in the Eastside city.
“The critical mass of technology firms taking up residence on the Eastside is pretty amazing,” said Kip Spencer, co-founder of Seattle-based Officespace.com and chief strategy officer with NuMark Office Interiors.
“You see all these big deals getting signed, and it’s getting to a point where nothing surprises you anymore.”
The Staubach real estate firm represented Yahoo in the deal. Bellevue’s Broderick Group represented building owner Principal Real Estate Investors.