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homeplatecenterRealNetworks got its start in Pioneer Square in 1995, and now the Seattle company is heading back to the quirky neighborhood known for its old brick buildings. But Real isn’t going into one of the historical structures this time.

The company announced today that it has secured 85,000 square-feet of space at the new Home Plate Center building, located on 1st Avenue south kitty-corner from Safeco Field.

“In a very real way we’re going back to our roots,” said RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser in a press release.

As we reported earlier this year, fast-growing daily deal site Zulily earlier this year signed a letter-of-intent for a large chunk of office space at RealNetworks’ current home on Elliott Avenue near the Seattle waterfront. In that regard, Zulily and RealNetworks are essentially switching neighborhoods. (Zulily’s office are located just south of Home Plate Center).

RealNetworks, which at one point employed up to 2,000 people, no longer needs such a large footprint. Its current space — where the company has been based since 1998 — has 260,000 square feet of space. The company’s worldwide headcount stood at 991 at the end of the last quarter, with about 400 in Seattle.

At Home Plate Center, RealNetworks will pay $3.5 million in annual rent as part of the 11-year lease which begins this August, according to a SEC filing. It will be the anchor tenant in the building, occupying floors four through six with options for more space.

The smaller footprint will help RealNetworks save $7 million in facilities costs, with Real paying an early termination fee on it current space, which takes effect in August, of $6.6 million.

The addition of Real is yet another shot-in-the-arm for Pioneer Square’s burgeoning tech scene, joining the likes of Double Down Interactive, EMC/Isilon and others. (Previously on GeekWire: Seattle’s Pioneer Square has tech, needs tribe.) It also should make it easy for CEO Rob Glaser — a die-hard Seattle Mariners’ fan — to catch home games.

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