On Wednesday, Meta Platforms Inc., listed on Nasdaq as META, revealed its intentions to sublease more than 82,000 square feet of office space in two downtown Bellevue towers, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Hazelbrook Advisors’ marketing materials have identified the Key Center (45,000 square feet) and Skyline Tower (37,000 square feet) as the available spaces, each comprising two floors. Meta, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, has held the leases since 2018, according to Bellevue city permits.
The two leases represent some of the company’s current downtown Bellevue spaces. The Registry reported in 2018 that Facebook, as the company was then called, was planning to lease space in three office towers across three blocks in downtown Bellevue—the two-building Civica Office Commons, Key Center and the Skyline Tower.
Meta is making efforts to consolidate its local real estate footprint, mirroring other technology giants, resulting in a downturn of downtown Bellevue’s office market. Meta has become a significant tech employer in the region over the past five years, growing to over 8,800 local employees last year, and expanding across Seattle and the Eastside markets. The company’s expansion has slowed primarily because it is reevaluating its space needs across its global office footprint. In January, the company announced that it was subleasing the Arbor Block 333, a six-story building in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, and the Block 6 building, an 11-story building in Bellevue’s Spring District. Block 6 was 100 percent pre-leased to Meta and set for delivery in the third quarter of 2023.
The turning point for Meta came in November of last year when CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg declared that the company was taking steps to become leaner and more efficient. Subsequently, there were layoffs and other cost-cutting measures. Despite remaining profitable in each quarter, the heavy investment into Meta’s Reality Labs division has impacted its profit growth. Reality Labs is a significant part of the company’s presence in the Puget Sound region.
Other tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon have either reduced space or slowed expansion plans in Bellevue’s central business district. Microsoft plans to exit over half of its downtown space in the coming years as leases expire and has yet to decide on plans for the remaining leases. Amazon, the city’s other significant tech employer, has not given up any of its current or planned space but has postponed multiple development projects without setting a timeline to restart them.