RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Microsoft has opened an office in Honolulu in Alii Tower. Holding a meeting yesterday were technical fellow Mohsen Agsen, left, senior software design engineer lead Allen Denver, software design engineer Jacob Meyer and program manager Suhail Dutta.
Microsoft hopes to tap local talent
The software center in Honolulu is small and 'unique'
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Microsoft Corp. sees a growth opportunity in Hawaii.
Allen Denver, a senior software designer in Honolulu, said the Redmond, Wash.-based computer company has opened an office here to take advantage of local engineering talent.
"There's plenty of talent in Hawaii, but we don't want to have to relocate folks to Redmond, so here we are," he said.
The 1,900-square-foot Alii Place office is one of a handful -- and one of the smallest -- of the company's software development centers nationwide.
Three Microsoft employees have been working at the office since May. The goal is for four more local workers by fall, Denver said, with plans for a staff of 10 in the next two years.
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Microsoft Corp. can now call Hawaii home.
The Redmond, Wash.-based computer software company has opened its first Hawaii office in Honolulu's central business district.
The office, in Alii Place at Alakea and Hotel streets, will house a team of software developers as part of the company's effort to take advantage of local engineering talent.
"We want to take advantage of every opportunity that we have for local talent," said Allen Denver, a senior software design lead in Honolulu. "There's plenty of talent in Hawaii, but we don't want to have to relocate folks to Redmond, so here we are."
Three Microsoft employees have been working out of the office since May. Microsoft intends to add four local employees to the location this fall, Denver said, with plans for a staff of 10 in the next two years. The Honolulu location is "very small" in comparison with Microsoft's software development centers in China and India, which employ hundreds of programmers, Denver said. The company has a handful of domestic offices in cities including Reno, Nev., and Fargo, N.D.
"There's no other remote development team of 10 that I can really cite," Denver said. "It's definitely unique."
With a 1,900-square-foot suite, Microsoft is a one of the smaller tenants in Alii Place, said Todd Johnson, project manager for San Francisco-based Bristol Group Inc., the real estate company that has owned the building since 1998.
"They are not a big tenant, but they are the kind of tenant that we were hoping to market our space to," he said. "Solid tenants with good credit that we needed to come in and take some space soon as they could because it was all ready to go."
The building has a 7 percent vacancy rate, Johnson said. Oahu's midyear office vacancy rate averaged 6.5 percent,
according to Colliers Monroe Friedlander Inc.
The 24th floor, where Microsoft is located, is subdivided into several suites. Microsoft's suite has three private offices, a conference room, cubicle space and a kitchen.
"They took a nice space with a view of the ocean and Diamond Head," Johnson said.