By Meghan Hall
Seattle’s Central Business District has become a hub of tech activity, benefitting from both Bay Area tech expansion and the growth of its own local companies. This has had a tremendous impact on the region as a whole, as well, since much of the growth has been occuring on the Eastside. In June of 2018, Los Angeles-based architecture firm Gehry Partners, LLP, submitted plans on behalf of tech giant Facebook for its proposed “Building X” on the outskirts of Redmond. According to plans submitted to the City, Facebook hopes to build a 678,000 square foot research and development campus on two lots in Redmond, Wash.
According to project documents, the building — which will be called Building X — is meant to serve as a centerpiece for the site, composed of two lots located at 10201 and 10201 Willows Rd. Gehry Partners states in the plans that the five-story building will be comprised of large open plan research areas while maximizing natural light and the privacy of the adjacent forest. Large kitchens, dining spaces, staff meeting rooms and large green roofs are all also part of the preliminary project plans. The campus will also contain research laboratories and parking for 1,392 vehicles below-grade.
Currently, the site is occupied by two single-occupant office buildings and surface level parking lots, which will be combined into a single development, according to project documents.
While tech companies often like to be in close proximity to one another, forming “clusters,” the project plans make it apparent that Facebook is seeking more privacy with its new campus.
“The proposed building will be set back from the street and, where possible, we will infill the existing trees and augment the understory landscape,” said Gehry Partners in the plans. “This will allow us to meet our client’s desire for a building that does not advertise its presence and has minimal — if any — visibility from Willows Road.”
The building’s green roofs will also assist in concealing the office development from view.
While the project moves through the approvals process, Facebook is slated to take up 37,056 square feet of Class A office space in Bellevue’s Skyline Tower beginning in March 2019. According to a report released at the end of 2018 by Colliers International, tenants are looking for more than 7.1 million square feet of space in the Seattle region, with just over 3.4 million square feet on the Eastside. Close to 3 million square feet of those requirements are from tech tenants, the report states. Vacancy in hotspots for tech, such as Bellevue, will remain low as companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook continue to expand. Colliers estimates in the future that the three tech companies can bring close to 4,000 new jobs to the Eastside in the future.