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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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May 1, 2008 11:13 AM

Microsoft's Bellevue footprint getting bigger still; excerpts from today's employee meeting

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The company is confirming today that it plans to lease the 26-story City Center Plaza, under construction at Northeast Sixth Street and 110th Avenue Northeast in downtown Bellevue. That would be on top of more than 1.3 million square feet of office space it nabbed last spring, and its swanky Lincoln Square digs.

From Eric Pryne's story on the latest lease:

The lease will help alleviate a space crunch at Microsoft's Redmond campus, where a number of buildings are under construction, [Microsoft spokesman Lou] Gellos said. It also will allow the company to bring together teams that now work at scattered locations.

City Center Plaza, being built by Wright Runstad and Beacon Capital Partners, contains 570,000 square feet. Until now, the developers has announced just one tenant, El Gaucho steakhouse.

Microsoft occupies 317,000 square feet at Lincoln Square in downtown Bellevue, and last year announced that it would lease 1.3 million square at two other projects under construction in the city.

Of that, 740,000 square feet is at The Bravern mixed-use complex not far from City Center Plaza. The buildings are "a stone's throw apart," Gellos said.

When all the space is occupied, Gellos said, Microsoft will be Bellevue's largest employer.

In other real estate news, Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell, whose purview includes real estate and facilities, told employees during an internal town hall meeting this morning that the company has added 10,000 square feet of new space in the past 18 months. That's taken from this transcript of the meeting on Silicon Alley Insider. Note that the transcript is not complete and the reporter "covering" the meeting (not clear exactly how) seemed mainly interested in the executives' comments on Yahoo.

According to SAI, Lisa Brummel, Microsoft's head of human resources, said employee morale is up according to internal polls. Her remarks, which apparently continued for at least 11 minutes, were condensed in the transcript to four lines. She also told employees that the company would be getting rid of the Polystyrene beverage cups. The orange cups, emblazoned with the Microsoft logo, have had a long presence on the company's campus.

It's worth noting that our sources say today's town hall meeting was scheduled two weeks ago, contrary to some reports suggesting it was a last-minute thing to address the Yahoo situation.

The big takeaways on that subject: CEO Steve Ballmer had nothing to tell employees today, but something is coming in "very short order." "I know EXACTLY what I think Yahoo is worth and I won't go a dime above."

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