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Weyerhaeuser Moves into New Pioneer Square Office

Seattle, Washington, USA 13 September 2016 -- (From The Business Journal) -- After 45 years in suburban Federal Way, Weyerhaeuser has begun its long-planned headquarters move to Seattle's Pioneer Square. The first wave of employees moved in on Monday.

Around 40 percent of the 700 employees who ultimately will relocate are moving this week, with the second wave coming next week, said company spokesman Jack Evans. The remaining employees will move later this month and early next, though the company will maintain a presence on the Federal Way campus.

It's a major shift for the company and Pioneer Square, where small businesses have been waiting for the Fortune 500 company to arrive since Weyerhaeuser announced two years ago that it is moving. Weyerhaeuser is moving from a 430-acre wooded campus in the suburbs to a new seven-story building at 200 Occidental Ave. S., in the heart of an urban neighborhood and three blocks from the transit hub at the King Street and Union stations.

The move includes Plum Creek employees who had already begun working at the company's Federal Way campus after the acquisition was completed earlier this year.

Employees will go from driving to work and to lunch to taking mass transit to the office and walking to lunch.

"I think I'm the only person on my team that drove into the office today," said Evans. He said proximity to transit is "a big deal" for employees.

"The key difference with the location here is you can walk right out the door," he said, "and there are restaurants and coffee shops and artwork."

Weyerhaeuser decided to move to the city so that the company would be attractive to workers who more and more are drawn to urban neighborhoods, and because the old headquarters is too big.

He acknowledged that employees had "mixed feelings" about the move, with many living in the Federal Way and Tacoma, and others commuting from other parts of King and Pierce counties. Even if people wanted to continue driving or car-pooling to work, parking would be a challenge. The new 166,000-square-foot building has parking for only 68 vehicles.

Seattle real estate company Urban Visions developed the building on a surface parking lot next to Occidental Square Park, which until a year ago was known as a place where homeless people camp out. A partnership of the city and Downtown Seattle Association has activated the park, and the number of calls for police services has declined. Meanwhile, Weyerhaeuser and tech companies are moving to Pioneer Square, where new apartment towers and two other office buildings are being built.

Leslie Smith, executive director of a nonprofit neighborhood group called the Alliance for Pioneer Square said the arrive of Weyerhaeuser will continue to revitalize the neighborhood.

Evans said that Weyerhaeuser employees who arrived at 200 Occidental received a welcome packet from neighborhood businesses.


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