Facebook buys REI’s newly completed Spring District HQ campus

by Marc Stiles | September 14, 2020 | Puget Sound Business Journal

The obvious buyer was next door a month ago when REI said it was putting its newly finished headquarters in Bellevue’s Spring District up for sale, and on Monday Facebook, as anticipated, sealed the deal.

Facebook said it paid $367.6 million for three-quarters of the 8-acre campus, where the company said 2,300 people will work across 400,000 square feet. The newly acquired property is between where Facebook has leased around 850,000 square feet in three new buildings in the Spring District.

Facebook said the acquisition gives the company 3 million square feet of space on both sides of Lake Washington. The Puget Sound region is the company’s largest engineering center outside of its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Spring District developer Wright Runstad & Co. and Shorenstein Properties bought the other 2 acres that make up a development site for $22.4 million. Wright Runstad CEO Greg Johnson said the property can accommodate a little more than 300,000 square feet of office space.

Facebook’s decision cements its place in the evolving pantheon of tech giants on the Eastside.

The 36-acre Spring District is a mixed-use development with an under-construction light rail station. Expected to open in 2023, the station will be a three-minute ride to downtown Bellevue and seven minutes to the Microsoft headquarters stop.

Facebook emphasized the company is not leaving Seattle, noting it’s been in the city for 10 years and looks forward to many more. Given the competitive real estate market in the area, Facebook said it is always on the lookout for opportunities to accommodate growth on both sides of Lake Washington.

REI and Facebook are each donating $1 million to the 42-mile Eastrail trail project. Outdoor gear cooperative REI has been heavily involved in the planning of the project since it decided four years ago to move move its headquarters from Kent to the Spring District. REI in 2017 paid Wright Runstad and Shorenstein nearly $49.3 million for the 8 acres.

REI hired Seattle-based real estate advisory firm Heartland to market the Spring District property. REI said it would shift to a more distributed work model with its headquarters spanning multiple satellite locations across the region as remote work becomes a bigger part of the co-op’s culture.

Two of Facebook’s new buildings are under construction. The company said one will be move-in ready early next year with the second move-in ready the middle of next year. The third building isn’t yet under construction.

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