Facebook is showing no signs of slowing down its appetite for office space in the Seattle region.
The social media giant has inked a lease for Block 24, a 200,000 square-foot building in Bellevue, Wash. at the new Spring District. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the lease, which is for the entire building. The Puget Sound Business Journal first reported the news.
Facebook has already leased 338,000 square feet in Block 16, another building under construction in the Spring District, a new 36-acre mixed use development built around a future light rail station that will be home to a new headquarters for outdoor retailer REI. It is also the site of the Global Innovation Exchange, the technology innovation graduate program created by the University of Washington, Tsinghua University and Microsoft.
Construction on Block 16 is scheduled for completion next year; Block 24 will be finished in 2021.
Seattle represents Facebook’s largest engineering center outside of its Menlo Park, Calif. home base, and the company has been growing all over the region in recent years.
In February, the company said it had 2.7 million square feet of current and planned space, which includes a new South Lake Union building in Amazon’s backyard that opened in May and a growing campus near Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. for Facebook Reality Labs, the virtual/augmented reality unit that also includes Oculus Research.
Facebook said late last year that it has more than 3,000 employees in the Seattle area, a number that should increase in the coming years. The company has more than 400 job openings in the region. It employs 39,651 people worldwide, up 31 percent from a year ago.
Employees at the Seattle-area offices work on areas including infrastructure and machine learning, and products such as Messenger, Marketplace and Games.
Using conventional office space ratios as an estimate, Facebook’s future capacity in the area could be somewhere between 13,500 to 19,000 people. However, much of the Oculus campus is for lab and research space, requiring more space per employee, so the capacity is probably somewhere closer to 10,000.
Last year Facebook leased space in several buildings in downtown Bellevue, where Amazon is also rapidly expanding. It’s part of a broader trend in which tech companies are establishing operations on both sides of Lake Washington.
Facebook is one of the top tech employers in the Seattle region, trailing only hometown heavyweights Amazon and Microsoft. Its scale as an out-of-town tech giant is rivaled only by Google, which has nearly 2 million square feet of space.
Google and Facebook were some of the first companies to open engineering centers in the Seattle region, tapping into the area’s technical talent base. Google planted its flag in 2005; Facebook came five years later.
The quality of Seattle’s tech talent pool is now the best in North America, according to CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report,
The growth of Google, Amazon, Facebook and other huge companies in the Seattle area has put significant pressure on the local real estate market. The vacancy rate, the amount of available office space, is down to 8.8 percent in Seattle and 9.6 percent across the region is a whole, according to a recent report from real estate firm JLL.