Facebook lands another huge office lease in Bellevue as part of Seattle-area expansion


Construction is ongoing at The Spring District. (Photo courtesy of Wright Runstad & Company)

Facebook really likes Seattle.

The social media giant just inked another big lease in the region. This time it’s Block 6, a building in Bellevue’s Spring District, the new development just east of downtown Seattle where Facebook already has leases for two separate buildings still under construction.

“We are committed to the Seattle region as evidenced by being the second largest engineering hub outside of our Menlo Park headquarters,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “Given the competitive real estate market in the region we are always on the lookout for opportunities to accommodate our growth.”

Business Insider first reported the new 325,000 square-foot lease.

Facebook has already leased 338,000 square feet in Block 16 and 200,000 square feet in Block 24 in the Spring District, a new 36-acre mixed use development built around a future light rail station that will be home to a new headquarters for outdoor retailer REI. It is also the site of the Global Innovation Exchange, the technology innovation graduate program created by the University of Washington, Tsinghua University, and Microsoft.

Construction on Block 16 is scheduled for completion next year; Block 24 will be finished in 2021. Facebook will be fully moved into the Spring District by 2023.

(Spring District Image)

Outside of its own HQ at Menlo Park, Calif., Facebook’s next-largest outpost is in Seattle, where it has added about 2,000 employees since 2018.

The tech giant said in September that it employs more than 5,000 Seattle-area people across 18 offices, a number that will surely increase in the coming years. The company has more than 400 Seattle-area job openings.

In February, Facebook said it had 2.7 million square feet of current and planned space, which includes two new South Lake Union buildings in Amazon’s backyard — the first opened in May, and the second this past September.

Using conventional office space ratios as an estimate, Facebook’s future capacity in the area could be somewhere north of 20,000 people.

The company employs 43,030 people worldwide as of Sept. 30, up 28 percent from a year ago.

Employees at the Seattle-area offices work on areas including infrastructure and machine learning, and products such as Messenger, Marketplace and Games.

Facebook, which today unveiled a new logo and brand, also has a growing campus near Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. for Facebook Reality Labs, the virtual/augmented reality unit that also includes Oculus Research.

Last year Facebook leased space in several buildings in downtown Bellevue, where Amazon is also rapidly expanding. It’s part of a broader trend in which tech companies are establishing operations on both sides of Lake Washington.

Facebook is one of the top tech employers in the Seattle region, trailing only hometown heavyweights Amazon and Microsoft. Its scale as an out-of-town tech giant is rivaled only by Google, which has nearly 2 million square feet of space including a new Google Cloud building in South Lake Union.

Google and Facebook were some of the first companies to open engineering centers in the Seattle region, tapping into the area’s technical talent base. Google planted its flag in 2005; Facebook came five years later.

There are now more than 130 companies from around the globe that have set up engineering outposts in and around Seattle.

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