June 7, 2012 / 10:26 PM / in 5 years

Facebook, Microsoft said shopping Manhattan space

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) are shopping for more office space in Manhattan, sources say, underscoring New York’s stature as a must-have location for top tech companies who need to be “book-ended” on both the west and east coasts.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, has browsed several locations in the city including the former New York Times Building at 229 West 43rd Street, two people familiar with the search said.

The social-networking company’s New York staff is primarily in sales, although there are also some marketing and engineering personnel in the city. Last year, Facebook said it planned to hire more engineers in New York.

Facebook, which currently occupies about 40,000 square feet of office space at 335 Madison Avenue near Grand Central Station, is shopping for 100,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet of office space, one source familiar with the matter said.

Microsoft, also has looked at the former Times building and at a new building at 51 Astor Place, two sources said. Microsoft is looking for about 200,000 square feet, the source said. It currently occupies 174,000 square feet at 1290 Avenue of the Americas near 52nd Street, another source said.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, based in Redmond, Washington, declined to comment, as did Facebook.

It is unclear how far along either company is to committing to a new location and they could opt to stay at their current New York offices.

Facebook is still sending out requests for proposals. It signed a 15-year lease at 335 Madison in December 2010.

Microsoft’s lease expires in 2014, two sources said.

New York, chiefly Manhattan, is a growing incubator for technology. In the fourth quarter of 2011 it ranked No. 2 behind California as the top destination for technology venture capital funding, according to CB Insights data.

In the last five years, information technology jobs in the city have increased nearly 29 percent to 52,900, according to a report issued last month by the Center for an Urban Future. The report identified 486 digital startups created in New York since 2007 that have received angel, VC or other outside funding.

Many of those companies are located south of 34th Street in Manhattan’s Midtown South office market, the New York home of Internet search and advertising powerhouse Google Inc (GOOG.O).

Reporting By Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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