SEATTLE (AP) — Facebook will buy REI’s new and unused Bellevue campus for nearly $368 million, the social media giant said on Monday.
The move further consolidates Facebook’s domain in the upscale Spring District east of Interstate 405 in Bellevue, The Seattle Times reported. Before the acquisition of the 400,000-square-foot (37,161-square-meter) REI offices, Facebook was already moving to occupy nearly 850,000 square feet (78,968 square meters) in three Spring District buildings.
The company, which opened its first Puget Sound office in 2010 with three engineers, now employs more than 5,000 workers in dozens of locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond. That places it alongside Google as the area’s largest out-of-town tech employers. The Seattle area is home to Facebook’s second-largest office footprint, after its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
“Our growth over the last decade is a testament to the thriving community and immense talent pool that has welcomed us with open arms,” said Nick Raby, Facebook’s director of North American real estate, in a statement. “This purchase doubles downs on our investment in Bellevue and our commitment to the Pacific Northwest.”
The deal signals there is “no single approach” for white-collar employers envisioning the future of office space as work-from-home regimes stretch into their seventh month, said Greg Johnson, the CEO of Spring District developer Wright Runstad & Company.
REI decided to sell its campus after the coronavirus pandemic hammered sales, leading the outdoor equipment retailer to conclude that it couldn’t afford not to sell the space. The company’s work-from-home program also proved to be surprisingly successful, said Ben Steele, REI’s chief customer officer. REI will rely more heavily on remote work and smaller satellite offices.