Late in December of 2017, a relatively unnoticeable transaction in Redmond took place, where Facebook purchased two high tech/flex office buildings for $20 million. The seller of the property was Redmond-based Crane Aerospace Inc., the parent organization of Crane Aerospace and Electronics, and the buildings they sold totaled just over 72,000 square feet. This sale was just a glimpse into the activities that the social media giant has been undertaking on the Eastside, as it has been steadily growing across the Puget Sound region.
Most of Facebook’s activities that have received press over the last couple of years have been focused around the company’s initiatives in Seattle. The company there occupies Dexter Station, a 345,992 square foot, state of the art, 10-story, Frank Gehry-designed Class A office building on the shores of Lake Union located at 1101 Dexter Avenue. The building itself was in the news in early 2017 when it was traded for $286 million, or just over $826 per square foot in May of 2017. It was purchased by Tristar Capital and Dusseldorf-based Commerz Real, a real estate arm of Commerzbank Group and sold by San Francisco-based Stockbridge Capital Group and Seattle-based Capstone Partners, the building developers.
Yet, it is the company’s growth on the Eastside, in Microsoft’s home base, that is capturing the attention of industry professionals, who have seen Facebook quietly amassing nearly 700,000 square feet across a number of properties around Redmond’s Willows Road, according to sources with direct knowledge of the company’s activities in the region. This growth has occurred in a very short amount of time, and the sources indicate that Facebook’s appetite for growth there is not subsiding.
In the region, the company is advertising 171 openings from account managers and analysts to content strategy, data engineering, design and global business marketing roles, to name a few areas where there are openings. Curiously, 24 of those positions are in recruiting, alone. This is a clear indication that the company will likely continue to expand across the region, especially since the jobs are really diverse and provide an opportunity for the organization to acquire technical and business talent from other firms in the vicinity.
The growth in the Puget Sound region has matched the company’s pattern of expansion in its home geography, as well. While it is exponentially growing and taking space anywhere it can in its hometown of Menlo Park, Facebook has also steadily expanded across the region into San Francisco, as well. In September of 2017, the firm took 432,000 square feet in a mixed-used high-rise in San Francisco located at 181 Fremont Street. The interesting aspect of that deal was that Facebook took all of the commercial office space in the building before the property finished construction, indicating that its expansion outside of Menlo Park is as important as its growth around the home base.