By Jack Stubbs
Facebook is showing little sign of slowing its growth on the Eastside.
The technology company is angling for space in three office towers across three blocks in downtown Bellevue—the two-building Civica Office Commons, Key Center and the Skyline Tower—according to an industry source with knowledge of the transaction.
It is not yet clear how much space Facebook intends to lease across the three properties, but it will likely be several floors in each building, according to the industry source.
Facebook stated in an email that it does not comment on speculation and that there is no information to share at this time.
The Broderick Group, who is the listing agent for Civica Office Commons and Key Center, declined to comment on the details of the transaction. Newmark Knight Frank’s Bellevue office, who is the listing agent for Skyline Tower, did not respond to calls for comment about the speculated lease.
The two-building Class A Civica Office Commons property, located at 205 – 225 108th Ave. NE, totals 308,535 square feet, according to Broderick Group’s web site. There are currently 59,294 square feet of space available across three suites in the two-building property, and asking rents are between $35 and $37 per square foot. Some of the features of the Civica Office Commons building include a 45-foot high glass enclosed lobby, on-site retail services and restaurants and high-quality fitness facilities.
Key Center is a 22-story, 488,470 square foot property located at 601 108th Avenue NE, two blocks from the Civica Office Commons building. There are nearly 150,000 square feet available across seven suites and the rental rate ranges from $45 to $47 per square foot.
Located at 10900 NE 4th St., the Class A 24-story Skyline Tower totals 416,755 square feet, according to the property listing on Newmark Knight Frank’s web site. There are currently 14,819 square feet of space available in the Skyline Tower, which was built in 1983 and renovated in 2001.
The three speculated leases mark the latest chapter for Facebook on the Eastside and might be a precursor to further growth in the Bellevue market. According to the industry source with knowledge of the transaction, Facebook is considering a much larger lease in the under-construction, 36-acre Spring District Development east of downtown Bellevue. According to the web site for the property—which Wright Runstad is developing—there are approximately 433,444 square feet available across 10 floors in the Block 16 Building and roughly 166,614 square feet of space available in the Block 24 Building.
Construction is underway on the Spring District—which when fully built out will comprise 5.3 million square feet of office, residential and retail space—and office space will be ready for occupancy in January 2020 in the Block 16 Building and first quarter 2021 in Block 24.
It is likely that the three short-term leases in Bellevue’s Central Business District will allow Facebook to expand its footprint while it waits for the Spring District to be ready for occupancy.
Along with the speculated leases for office space in downtown Bellevue and the Spring District project, Facebook has been making its presence known in Redmond in recent months.
In January 2018, the company acquired two high tech/flex buildings in Redmond totaling just over 72,000 square feet for $20 million from Redmond-based Crane Aerospace Inc. Facebook has amassed nearly 700,000 square feet of office space across a number of properties around Redmond’s Willows Road, according to sources with direct knowledge of the company’s activities in the region.
Across other sectors, too, Facebook continues to explore the growing world of virtual reality. In mid-August 2018, BuildZoom analyzed the $106 million in construction and development permits filed over the past three years for Facebook Oculus’ offices in Redmond to see the company had acquired their new office space and how they were using new facilities. Analyzing data from BuildZoom’s National Permit Database, the company found that of more than 180 permits filed, issues and finalized for Oculus projects across 11 buildings in Redmond, Facebook has spent more than $106 million since July 2015 to develop labs and offices, with $88.3 million of those permits filed in 2018 alone.
Across Lake Washington in Seattle, also, Facebook has made statements of intent about its plans to expand its footprint in the Emerald City. In mid-March 2018, the company showcased its new 6-story, 150,000 square foot Westlake Office located at 1101 Westlake Ave. N. in South Lake Union. The Westlake Office, which houses the company’s second largest engineering office outside of its Menlo Park headquarters, has room for 900 additional employees. The project is across the street from Dexter Station, a roughly 346,000 10-story Class A office building, which the company has occupied since early 2016 and which is now home to approximately 2,000 employees.
In December 2016, the company signed a lease with Vulcan Real Estate for the 384,000 square foot Arbor Blocks campus in the heart of South Lake Union. The development—available in 2018, according to the project’s web site—will consist of two 6-story mid-rise office buildings and 4,100 square feet of street-level retail along 8th Avenue North between Thomas and Harrison Streets.