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High-end computing supplier Silicon Graphics Inc. faces the same set of problems these days roiling most erstwhile high-tech darlings: mounting losses, a pummeled stock price and an increasingly unappetizing balance sheet. Not surprisingly, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company–making a mark recently with its animation technology contributions to box office hits Monsters Inc. and The Lord of the Rings–spends almost as much time these days developing new ways to cut costs and improve its return on equity as it does making computer-generated effects.

Of course, the first cuts involved the standard spinoffs and selloffs. But SGI also found unexpected, underperforming assets just sitting around taking up square footage, so to speak: the seven Silicon Valley office buildings housing the company’s operational headquarters. “Apart from providing the physical space for the company, it wasn’t bringing in anything,” explains Michael Hirahara, SGI’s vice president of facilities. “We wanted to monetize these assets.”

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