In January, Matt Day of the Seattle Times stated that “Facebook is reshaping Seattle as a virtual, augmented reality hub.” The accelerating real estate growth of Oculus, the Facebook-acquired virtual reality company, around Seattle’s neighboring city Redmond makes a compelling case in support of Day’s statement. Today we’re exploring the $106 million in construction and development permits filed over the past three years for Facebook Oculus’ offices in Redmond to see where they have acquired new office space and how they’re using new facilities.
To explore these topics, we analyzed data from BuildZoom’s National Permit Database. From our analysis of the more than 180 permits filed, issued, and finaled for Oculus projects across 11 buildings in Redmond, Facebook Oculus has spent more than $106 million since July 2015 to develop labs and offices. $88.3 million of those permits were filed in 2018 alone. Recently, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Facebook also purchased 72k sqft at 10301 Willows Rd NE and leased 200k sqft at 10865 Willows Rd NE, which have not yet been reflected in the building permits.
In March 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus Rift for a reported $3B. Although the company was founded in Irvine, CA and has headquarters in Menlo Park, Oculus has reportedly been going through a hiring push around Seattle, according to GeekWire reporter Nat Levy, and is rumored to be looking to expand its local footprint. In June 2015, Oculus Rift opened a Seattle office at the Stadium Innovation Center, as reported by the DJC, but it appears they are migrating an increasing share of Oculus-related office space to Redmond.
Spending by Year
Since January 2018, Oculus-related permits were pulled within eight new Redmond offices for a value of $88.3 million (in buildings where no Oculus-related development had previously occurred). These more recent developments come after Zuckerburg’s October 2017 announcement that he wanted “to get a billion people” in virtual reality.
From our review of the 180+ permits which comprise Oculus’ Redmond activity, a majority of the construction projects are for the development of office and laboratory space. Below are a handful of interesting permit descriptions that hint as to how Oculus will use their new Redmond facilities.
9461 Willow Road NE
$16,000,000: CADD – Facebook/Oculus SEA 113 BEM […] Scope for new work includes interior building out for office and clean room facility. […] Scope also includes […] equipment and one for cryogenic nitrogen tank both will associated equipment screening. Total area of work 62,147 SF.
$13,600,000: Facebook/Oculus SEA 113 BEM – High Tech Cleanrooms with 1700+/- Fan Filter Units circulating filtered air to the cleanroom.
9845 Willows Rd NE
$6,016,850: CADD – Oculus High Bay 2nd Floor Expansion – New construction includes 4860sf of new 2nd floor expansion at high bay space, new stair and restroom at 1st floor.
$1,000,000: CHANGE OF OCCUPANCY- Oculus (Facebook) – Cafe and Exterior improvements – TENANT IMPROVEMENT AND EXTERIOR ALTERATIONS INCLUDING NEW PARTITIONS, CEILINGS, DOORS, WINDOWS, CASEWORK, AND OPERABLE PARTITIONS ON THE FIRST FLOOR […] Total area of work = 9,455
$615,000: TI-Oculus Interior build out of approximately 10,250 sf for new office space at existing first floor. Project includes selective demolition for work as it relates to new wall partitions, doors and ceilings.
10785 Willows Rd NE 250
$1,120,000: Commercial tenant improvement – sea 119 wcd tenant improvement – suite 250 – oculus/facebook – tenant improvement interior build-out of space for new offices in existing 2nd floor. Work includes selective demolition of existing space to make ready for new partitions doors ceilings lighting etc. Area of work 6, 951 SF
10545 Willows Rd NE
$4,200,000: SEA 114 WCA – Facebook/Oculus – High Tech Cleanrooms with Fan Filter Units circulating filtered air to the cleanroom.
$2,096,000: SEA 114 WCA – Facebook/Oculus – Full building remodel outside of small bank area on Level 1. Work includes added lab space with ultra pure water, nitrogen, compressed air, and vacuum systems.
Total construction costs and permit counts were calculated by analyzing permits with ‘Oculus’ in the description, and summarized by project address.
- Permit values may be estimates or rounded and may not accurately reflect construction costs.
- Permits do not reflect all of the project’s costs and are meant to supplement our understanding of the project as a whole.
- Aggregate sums are minimum estimates and may not include permits for demolition work, temporary structures, FF&E, engineering, or other public infrastructure improvements.
- The data may not be exhaustive and is based on what has been made available by the City of Redmond, Washington.
- Full permit descriptions, as shared above, were truncated to highlight interesting features.
Having grown up in Los Angeles and studied in New York, Kelsey is fascinated by how the built environment shapes our understanding of people, culture, and well-being. Her work is at the intersection of design, research, and marketing. She enjoys traveling, reading, and eating food that requires chopsticks.