Exclusive: HTC is on the prowl for a big chunk of office space in Seattle

HTC, the giant Taiwanese smartphone maker, is looking to boost its presence in the Seattle area and has pinpointed the Pioneer Square neighborhood for a major expansion, GeekWire has learned.

The company, which has maintained its North American headquarters in Bellevue for a number of years and operates a small branch office in Pioneer Square, is eyeing several large tracts of office space in the historic Seattle neighborhood just north of CenturyLink Field.

An HTC spokeswoman confirmed that the company is looking to expand in the neighborhood, but noted that it “has not made any final arrangements or decisions at this time.”

Nonetheless, real estate brokers and industry watchers are salivating over the prospects of the maker of Android and Windows Phone devices bolstering its presence in the area.

Sources tell GeekWire that Joe Razore of The Broderick Group has been hired to lead the search. We’ve reached out to Razore for comment and will update the post if we hear back.

At this point, HTC employs about 200 people in the Seattle area. But, based on the space requirements now under consideration, the company appears to be charging ahead with a large expansion effort that could significantly increase that number.

The Occidental Mall building is one potential option for HTC

Sources tell GeekWire that the company is investigating The Occidental Mall building on Occidental Park. Another possibility that could fit the company’s space requirements is at 705 Union Station, once occupied by Amazon.com. Sources were unclear on exactly how much space HTC plans to take over, but estimates ranged from 60,000 square feet to as much as 200,000 square feet.

One broker tells GeekWire that the 200,000 square foot figure seems high, but added that “you never know, they are killing it.”

The growth of HTC could be a major boost for the Seattle wireless industry, which has seen its fair share of bad news over the past decade. HTC has kept a relatively low profile in the region, but it is certainly on a growth path as it develops new devices based on the Android and Windows Phone operating systems.

The company’s jobs page lists more than 50 openings in Washington state alone, including positions in social marketing, engineering and product management.

The expansion also could be another shot in the arm for the Pioneer Square neighborhood, which struggled in recent years after businesses such as The Elliott Bay Company and architecture firm NBBJ pulled out.  But in recent months there’s been a bit of a renaissance in the neighborhood, with Isilon Systems and Zynga deciding to locate there.

The City of Seattle also is pushing forward with a broadband plan for businesses along First Avenue, since Internet connectivity has been spotty in the neighborhood for years.

Previously on GeekWireHTC boss on Windows Phone 7, patent wars and why iPhones aren’t cool anymore


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