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Meta, Microsoft vacates office buildings above WFH, massive layoffs: Report

Meta, Microsoft vacates office buildings above WFH, massive layoffs: Report

Both Meta and Microsoft have embraced remote working. (representative)


Facebook parent Meta and Microsoft are each leaving office buildings in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington ̵[ads1]2; in the latest sign of change in the tech sector and softness in the office market here — according to the Seattle Times.

Facebook on Friday confirmed plans to sublease its offices in the six-story Arbor Block 333 in downtown Seattle, and in the 11-story Block 6 in the Spring District in Bellevue, the Seattle Times reported.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media giant said it is also considering leases for other office buildings in the Seattle area. A soft market is a phase in the economic cycle characterized by more sellers than buyers and low prices.

The Seattle Times said the same day that Redmond-based Microsoft confirmed reports that it will not renew its lease at the 26-story City Center Plaza in Bellevue when the lease expires in June 2024.

The Seattle Times said the announcements come as the continued popularity of remote work and a tech slowdown with massive layoffs have both reduced demand for office space in Seattle and elsewhere.

Both Meta and Microsoft have embraced telecommuting while reducing their workforces as the technology sector languishes, according to the daily. In November, Meta announced layoffs of 726 workers in the Seattle area.

Meta spokesperson Tracy Clayton told the Seattle Times that the leasing decisions were primarily driven by the company’s move toward remote, or “distributed” work. But he acknowledged that “given the economic climate” Meta was also trying “to be … financially sound”.

Meta currently occupies all of Arbor Block 333 in Seattle and would have occupied all of Block 6, which is scheduled to open later this year. The company still has offices in 29 buildings and nearly 8,000 workers in the Seattle area, which remains the company’s second-largest engineering hub outside of its Menlo Park headquarters, Clayton said.

A Microsoft spokesperson characterized the decision on City Center Plaza as part of an ongoing evaluation of the firm’s “property portfolio to ensure we provide an exceptional place to work and create greater collaboration and community for our employees.”

The City Center Plaza decision also comes amid a massive redevelopment of Microsoft’s Redmond campus, part of which will be completed by the end of 2023. But the daily said Friday’s news adds to an already dismal forecast for the Seattle-area office market as it struggles against economic headwinds and the slow return of external office workers.

That struggle is most visible in downtown Seattle, where overall vacancy is now at 25 percent, according to a new report from commercial real estate agency Colliers.

The Seattle Times said even non-vacant offices are often half-empty due to remote work. Since last summer, downtown Seattle has had only about 40 percent of workers present before the pandemic, according to mobile location data from posted by the Downtown Seattle Association.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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