Facebook buys REI’s new HQ for $367M, expanding Seattle-area footprint beyond 3M square feet

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A rendering of what was purported to be REI’s new headquarters advanced in Bellevue, Wash. Fb is now buying the property from REI, which determined to promote amid the shift to distant work attributable to the pandemic. (Picture through Wright Runstad & Firm / Spring District)

Fb is but once more increasing within the Seattle area, its largest engineering hub outdoors of Silicon Valley.

The social media large paid $367.6 million to buy a model new 6-acre, 400,000 square-foot advanced from REI on the new Spring District improvement in Bellevue, Wash., simply east of Seattle.

The growth comes regardless of Fb’s embrace of distant work amid the pandemic. It’s additionally the most recent instance of a tech firm increasing outdoors of Seattle’s city core. Fb says it should keep its present places of work in Seattle.

REI was set to maneuver from its Kent, Wash., HQ into the property this summer time, with plans for inexperienced house, open-air assembly areas, and extra. However the outside retailer determined in August to promote the buildings and land because of the pandemic and shift to distant work.

Fb was seen as a possible purchaser, on condition that it already signed leases for greater than 800,000 sq. ft of workplace house throughout three buildings being developed on the Spring District: Blocks 6, 16, and 24.

Web site developer Wright Runstad & Firm and Shorenstein Properties bought an undeveloped 2-acre portion of REI’s property for $22.four million. Greg Johnson, CEO at Wright Runstad & Firm, stated the plan is to develop one other 300,000 square-foot constructing within the coming months.

REI stated right now that the sale “represents a optimistic return on the co-op’s funding within the property and can allow essential investments in REI’s customer-facing improvements, its nonprofit companions and carbon discount objectives.” REI paid almost $50 million for the property in 2017.

REI will transfer to a much less centralized headquarters strategy that spans a number of areas throughout the Seattle area.

Fb and REI additionally stated right now they may every donate $1 million to Eastrail, a brand new 42-mile path system that connects Eastside cities.

Fb may have round 2,300 workers on the new advanced, which is about to open later this yr.

The Spring District is a 36-acre improvement that’s adjoining to a brand new mild rail station opening in 2023. It is usually the house of the World Innovation Change, the expertise innovation graduate program created by the College of Washington, Tsinghua College, and Microsoft.

Fb’s Arbor Blocks workplace in Seattle. (GeekWire File Photograph / Nat Levy)

Fb now has greater than Three million sq. ft of workplace house within the Seattle space. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm will keep its operations round downtown Seattle, the place it first arrived in 2010 and has been increasing in varied buildings. Fb employs greater than 5,000 folks within the Seattle area and has greater than 400 open jobs.

“Our progress over the past decade is a testomony to the thriving neighborhood and immense expertise pool that has welcomed us with open arms,” Nick Raby, an actual property exec for Fb, stated in an announcement right now. “This buy doubles downs on our funding in Bellevue and our dedication to the Pacific Northwest.”

Utilizing typical workplace house ratios as an estimate, Fb’s future capability within the space may very well be north of 20,000 folks.

The corporate employs 52,534 folks worldwide as of June 30, up 32 % from a yr in the past.

Workers on the Seattle-area places of work work on areas together with infrastructure and machine studying, and merchandise equivalent to Messenger, Market and Video games.

Bellevue, in the meantime, continues to draw huge tech firms. “That is extra thrilling information for Bellevue,” stated Joe Fain, CEO of the Bellevue Chamber. “Fb’s growth on the Eastside not solely means extra nice expertise jobs for our area, but it surely additionally means being dwelling to a different international firm that’s dedicated to giving again to our local people.”

Earlier this month Amazon stated it will add one other 10,000 jobs in Bellevue because it grows past its headquarters in downtown Seattle. Amazon has been at odds with the Seattle Metropolis Council for years over its influence on the neighborhood, and efforts by the town to impose new taxes on huge companies. Final yr, after a previous tax battle, the corporate introduced plans to maneuver its worldwide operations to Bellevue.

Each Amazon and Fb proceed increasing their bodily workplace house footprints regardless of the pandemic. Fb final month inked a 730,000 square-foot lease in Manhattan. Amazon stated final month that it should spend $1.four billion on almost 1 million sq. ft of latest bodily workplace house in six U.S. cities for 3,500 tech jobs.

Fb is permitting workers to do business from home till July 2021; Amazon is doing the identical for employees till January.

Google additionally continues to scoop up workplace house within the Seattle area. Final month the corporate purchased extra land in one other eastside metropolis, Kirkland, Wash. Google has greater than 2 million sq. ft of workplace house round Seattle, with greater than 5,750 workers within the area.

There at the moment are greater than 130 firms from across the globe which have arrange engineering outposts in and round Seattle. However layoffs this yr at firms together with Airbnb and Uber makes the way forward for at the least a few of these outposts as an engine for tech job progress extra unsure.

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