The fast-growing data-visualization company has been busy finding space in Seattle and Kirkland to house its expanding roster of employees.
Tableau has confirmed why it is gobbling up so many buildings in Seattle and Kirkland: It needs the space to accommodate its fast growth. In 2016 alone, it plans to add 1,000 new employees, its largest increase in a single year.
The Seattle business-intelligence company said Wednesday that it has leased three floors, or 92,000 square feet, in the upcoming Kirkland Urban development, set to open in 2018. The Seattle Times, citing an industry source, reported last week that Wave and Tableau had each leased about 90,000 square feet in the downtown Kirkland mixed-use development at 457 Central Way. Wave has not confirmed the report.
Tableau, which develops data-visualization software, will use the new space to relocate its existing Kirkland employees, now in a building just east of the planned development, as well as in a few temporary locations around the area.
“We are bursting at the seams now,” said Brett Thompson, Tableau’s vice president of human resources.
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Tableau had 2,800 employees worldwide at the end of its third quarter, and added even more during its fourth quarter, Thompson said. The company will announce fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 4. With its aggressive expansion plans, Tableau is poised to reach about 4,000 employees by the end of the year.
The Kirkland Urban expansion is just the latest in Tableau’s quest to find enough space for its booming employee base. The company is the anchor tenant of NorthEdge, a development under construction north of Gas Works Park. It also recently announced it is taking over 110,000 square feet in an upcoming building directly across North 34th Street from its Fremont headquarters, where Milstead & Co was located.
Milstead and neighboring Café Turko’s original building will be knocked down. But the popular eateries soon will be housed on the bottom-floor retail space of the new Tableau building. Milstead and Café Turko are now in temporary locations in that area.
Making sure all the businesses had a home as all the development proceeded was a big consideration for the company, Thompson said.
“Not only do we not want to stomp on Fremont, but our people would revolt if there was even a hint of displacing them. They love those businesses,” Thompson said.
Taking part in Fremont’s quirky community has been one of Tableau’s priorities for years.
The company stocks snacks in its kitchen, but purposefully not full meals, so that employees go out for lunch and happy hours. Similarly, in Kirkland, the development will include retail space along a promenade that connects to Peter Kirk Park, which leads to the city’s busy waterfront.
As Seattle grows, and concern about gentrification intensifies, Tableau said it wants to position itself as a friend to the community. In 2015, the company’s foundation gave $85,000 in grants to Fremont nonprofits and $30,000 to Kirkland nonprofits. That number is based on head count, so is likely to grow this year, said Neal Myrick, director of corporate social responsibility.
About 600 of the 1,000 people Tableau plans to hire this year will be based in the Puget Sound region. Tableau also announced Wednesday that it has opened offices in New York and Beijing, meaning it now has offices in 16 cities globally.
Such growth makes recruiting talent a challenge. Staff members’ job descriptions include the words “you are a recruiter,” and department managers are responsible for making sure their teams are filled. Employees receive referral bonuses of up to $10,000 if a candidate they suggest is hired.
“We have focused a lot about the exceptional growth we’re going through and the challenges that can create,” Thompson said. “A lot of that can be just logistics.”
Tableau reported a revenue increase of 64 percent to $170.8 million in its third quarter. That increase is a driving force behind the company’s heavy investment in research and development and product development.
“We firmly believe that at this stage there’s big competition, we’re in a market that’s become very hot, and we have to get bigger and be successful,” he said. “We could get taken out if we go to sleep at the wheel.”