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Facebook plans to buy REI’s abandoned building in Bellevue

In this April 14, 2020 file photo, the thumbs up Like logo is shown on a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Facebook announced its plans to purchase the brand new Bellevue building that had been abandoned by outdoor gear retailer REI. The social media company will buy the new, unused building for nearly $368 million, according to the Seattle Times.

REI to ax Bellevue headquarters as it reevaluates remote work policies

Last month, REI announced it would not move into the three-building complex because teleworking has proved to be successful for the company. The company has had all 1,200 headquarters employees working from home since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early March. It’s unclear when they’ll return to an in-person setting, but when they do, REI plans to spread them across a handful of smaller sites across the Seattle area.

The Seattle Times reports that Facebook has more than 5,000 workers in the Seattle area, second only to its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

Facebook had already expanded its presence in Bellevue in November 2019, signing a deal to lease yet another building in the city’s 36-acre Spring District development. The lease was for 325,000 square feet of office space in Block 6 of the Spring District complex, adding on to a 338,000 square-foot lease in Block 16, and 200,000 square feet in Block 24.

Block 16 was expected to finish up construction and open in 2020, while Block 24 is scheduled for 2021. By 2023, Facebook will be completely moved into its Spring District buildings.

“This is more exciting news for Bellevue,” said Joe Fain, president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber. “Facebook’s expansion on the Eastside not only means more great technology jobs for our region, but it also means being home to another global company that is committed to giving back to our local community.”

Amazon has also recently committed to more office space in Bellevue, announcing that it would adding another 10,000 jobs to its Bellevue operations, committing a total of 25,000 workers to the Eastside in the next few years. In the wake of a recently passed big business tax in Seattle, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner sees the company’s expansion as a direct reaction to that legislation.

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