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Microsoft Unveils Regional Express Bus Service, Expands Seattle Presence With New Offices


Microsoft Corp. will launch a free express bus service for employees to and from its Redmond, Wash. headquarters later this month. It will also increase its presence in Seattle to nearly 1,400 people with the addition of three new work locations in the city, including the Westlake/Terry Building, 111 S. Jackson and 505 Union Station.

The Connector will run five routes in the region, in Seattle, Issaquah, Mill Creek, Sammamish and Bothell, each with several stops. The service will accommodate up to 1,000 employees daily via its Wi-Fi-enabled buses. The free shuttles are expected to begin service on Sept. 24 with most of the routes scheduling five pickup times in the morning and five in the evening.

“We are committed to doing our part to address the transportation needs of this region as Microsoft continues to grow,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft. “The Connector transportation service will give our employees a convenient, productive, comfortable alternative for commuting to work.”

With the lease of 166,000 square feet of space in Seattle, along with the three locations from recently purchased aQuantive Inc., the company will now employ nearly 1,400 people in the city in seven different locations (see interactive map).

“Seattle is proud to have Microsoft expanding on this side of the lake into areas like South Lake Union that are attracting many pioneering, growing companies,” said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “Clearly this is a great day for Seattle, but it is also a great day for Microsoft’s employees and the environment. It’s a move where everybody wins.”

The largest of Microsoft’s leased spaces is in the Westlake/Terry Building, located in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, co-owned by Vulcan Inc. and Group Health Cooperative. More than 400 Microsoft employees, including many from the Online Services Business, will occupy four floors of the six-floor building, about 126,000 square feet, on the project’s West Block, beginning in March 2008. Approximately 150 additional spaces will be reserved as temporary “touch down space” for Microsoft employees who need to conduct meetings in Seattle or stop in to avoid rush-hour traffic. Other new offices include 36,000 square feet for 120 employees at 111 S. Jackson St., located in Pioneer Square, and 4,000 square feet for 20 employees of the Microsoft Robotics Group at 505 Union Station, across Fourth Ave. from Qwest Field, just south of Seattle’s central business district.

“The Puget Sound area is our home and it’s only logical that our presence in Seattle grows along with portions of our businesses that are already based in the city,” said Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “These new locations are part of the vibrant and growing tech centers in Seattle.”

“Microsoft’s decision to move into South Lake Union is great news for all of Seattle,” said Ada M. Healey, vice president of real estate for Vulcan. “This world-class organization will contribute further dynamic energy and intellectual capital to the area, and will help solidify South Lake Union’s reputation as a vibrant, innovative urban community.”

In February 2006 Microsoft announced that it would accelerate campus development plans, expanding its Redmond campus by one-third of its current size by 2009. The expansion announced today is in addition to the company’s previously announced plans and builds on recently announced expansions in Bellevue, Wash.; Boston; and Richmond, British Columbia.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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