HP Inc. plans to build a new facility in Vancouver, Washington, the city said Thursday, with potential to expand into an enormous corporate campus.
Initial plans call for 330,000 square feet of office space in two buildings, part of the city’s broader effort to encourage economic development on Vancouver’s eastern edge. Intriguingly, public documents indicate HP’s project could expand to 1.5 million square feet in research and manufacturing space on nearly 100 acres over 15 years.
However, the news comes as HP prepares to cut up to 9,000 jobs companywide and works to fight off a hostile takeover by rival Xerox Corp. It’s unclear why HP would want to quadruple its Vancouver operations at a time its profits are falling and it is cutting back nearly everywhere else.
“We are exploring opportunities that support our long-term presence in Vancouver but have no immediate plans to change our existing real estate footprint,” HP spokeswoman Camelia Gendreau said in an email. She declined to describe the company’s plans in detail.
The Columbian newspaper first reported HP’s news Wednesday.
Plans submitted to the city call for the Silicon Valley company to use the new site for research and development and related activities. Construction would begin in 2023, with HP moving in late in 2025 or early 2026.
That first phase would be modestly bigger than HP’s current Vancouver facility, but city documents indicate the company is considering a massive expansion in subsequent years to a full campus of 1.5 million square feet.
HP and its corporate predecessor, Hewlett-Packard Co., have operated in Vancouver for nearly four decades and once employed more than 3,000 there. After years of downsizing HP now has 1,000 workers there, according to the city, including more than 300 contractors.
Hewlett-Packard sold its 174-acre east Vancouver campus in 2009 and moved into leased space nearby. That company split up four years ago and the new HP inherited the trailblazing company’s fading printer and PC businesses.
Hewlett-Packard’s Vancouver site originated as a printer factory but the current facility is focused on research to develop 3D printers, which HP hopes could reduce its dependence on the fading market for printed documents.
City documents say HP looked at “various locations” for future development beginning in 2018 and considered two sites in Vancouver before settling on the new development in east Vancouver last summer. The documents say HP was seeking “flexibility for future development options.”
HP also employs an unspecified number at a major research site in Corvallis. It’s unclear if a Vancouver expansion would affect operations there.
In the city’s agreement with HP, Vancouver agreed to spend $10 million for public infrastructure, including streets and trails. It also agreed to waive $1.25 million in business license fees over 20 years and reduce traffic impact fees by up to $200,000. Vancouver may also defer water and sewer development charges.
The new HP office would sit among 553 acres Vancouver annexed in 2008. The city has classified 440 acres as having commercial development potential in the coming decades.
HP announced in October it hopes to save $1 billion by cutting between 7,000 and 9,000 jobs worldwide amid declining demand for printers and PCs. That represented up to 16% of its global workforce.
HP’s sales were roughly flat in its last fiscal year at $58.8 billion. But profits fell from $5.3 billion to $3.2 billion.
Amid that backdrop, HP quietly began talking to Xerox last summer about a deal to combine the two companies in hopes of saving costs. When HP walked away, Xerox moved in with a hostile bid offering $33.5 billion, or $22 a share.
HP rejected that offer, saying it undervalued the company. HP shares closed Thursday at $20.32.