Microsoft, with Mayor Garcetti on hand, opens office in Playa Vista

Published by the Los Angeles Times

Written by Andrea Chang

Microsoft celebrated the grand opening of its new L.A. office on Thursday, and Mayor Eric Garcetti, a high school mariachi band and actress Holly Robinson Peete were among the eclectic mix of guests at the event.

The roughly 20,000-square-foot Microsoft space is part of the Reserve, a 20-acre creative use campus in Playa Vista that was formerly a U.S. Post Office facility.

Half of Microsoft's space -- which features an open floor plan, communal tables and conference rooms with SoCal-inspired names such as Malibu, Hermosa and Zuma -- will be occupied by employees, primarily those on the enterprise and sales and marketing teams. About 130 employees will work from the new office; they previously worked from Microsoft's now-closed office in downtown L.A.

The other half of the space will be used as a technology "showcase office" for Microsoft to display its latest devices and software to customers and host community events, Mark Kornegay, the company's general manager for the Southern California district, said in an interview.

The move also brings Microsoft closer to the growing tech activity on the Westside, which has seen the launch of hundreds of start-ups in recent years as well as a large office space leased by Google in Venice.

Several public officials attended Thursday's event, and in remarks before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, they praised Microsoft for being committed to the L.A. tech community.

"Microsoft has made the right choice," Garcetti told the crowd. But he cautioned that he wanted to see tech growth in all areas of the city.

"When we talk about Silicon Beach, it's not just something happening in West Los Angeles. It has to happen throughout Los Angeles," Garcetti said. "We are a global hub, we are a tech hub."

Councilman Mike Bonin of the 11th District said the city was working hard to attract new businesses to be part of the "backbone of a new innovation economy in Los Angeles."

"Many of you in this room have friends who are also in the tech and innovation community," Bonin said. "Please tell them, whether they work for another division of Microsoft, whether they work for Snapchat or Viddy, or whether they're developing an app of their own that we haven't heard of that's going to become all the rage a year from now, we want you in the city of Los Angeles."

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-microsoft-office-20130905,0,2195012.story