Facebook bought REI’s abandoned HQ because it thinks offices are ‘still vitally important’ despite the rise in remote work — and it’s just the latest sign that Big Tech isn’t slowing real estate plans (FB, GOOG)

Mark Zuckerberg

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Facebook is buying the under-construction Seattle-area office initially planned as outdoor retailer REI’s headquarters — the latest sign that big technology companies are moving forward with office expansions while other businesses pull back.

REI last month announced plans to sell its not-yet-finished headquarters amid the pandemic. Facebook — which already has three office buildings in the same development near Seattle in Bellevue, Washington — confirmed on Monday that it paid $367.6 million to buy the office.

The sale brings Facebook’s Seattle-area footprint to more than 3 million square feet and cements the region as Facebook’s largest engineering hub outside its headquarters. It also suggests the company is moving forward with long-term physical office plans even as the company allows employees to work from home until at least July 2021.

Facebook said it conducted an internal employee survey in May and found about 65% of employees wanted to return to the office as soon as possible. The company envisions half of its employees working remotely within the next five to 10 years.

“Our offices are still vitally important to our culture and will help accommodate anticipated growth and meet the needs of our employees that need or prefer to work from campus,” a company spokesperson said.

The pandemic and shift to remote work doesn’t seem to be slowing office expansion for Big Tech companies, at least not in the Seattle area. 

Google paid $40 million on July 29 to acquire a plot of land in the Kirkland Urban development east of Seattle, according to a real-estate excise-tax affidavit the company filed in King County, Washington. Google confirmed the sale to Business Insider, saying the site would “serve as additional space for long-term growth in the area.” 

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Amazon, meanwhile, just leased another two million square feet in Bellevue, expected to be completed in 2023.

Do you have insight to share? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email (astewart@businessinsider.com).

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Source:: Business Insider


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