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Facebook Acquires REI’s New and Unused Headquarters for $368M, Further Expanding its Footprint in Seattle Region, Washington

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Facebook has acquired Recreational Equipment Inc.’s (REI) 400,000 square feet brand new headquarters and approximately six acres of land for $368 million.

Furthermore, an undeveloped 2 acres of land was purchased by site developer Wright Runstad and San Francisco-based Shorenstein for $22 million. REI has raked in a total of $390 Million from the sale, deriving a massive profit in return. The company had paid nearly $50 million for the complex in 2017. According to REI, the deal represents a positive return on the co-op’s investment in the property. It will enable important investments in REI’s customer-facing innovations, its nonprofit partners, and carbon reduction goals.

Designed by architecture firm NBBJ, the customized complex in the Spring District of Bellevue boasts of rooftop terraces, a courtyard, series of outdoor staircases and bridges, skylights, and more, to reflect the outdoorsy image of the company. REI purported to shift from its headquarters in Kent to the new complex this summer, intending to make it its new headquarters. But due to the closure of most of its 167 retail outlets in 39 states because of the pandemic, REI suffered significant losses in revenue, prompting it to put the property up for sale. REI had announced in August 2020 its intent to sell off the property in a bid to shift to a more distributed work model.

After witnessing success with the work from home approach in the wake of the Covid-19, the outdoor clothing and gear specialty retailer plans to open multiple satellite office locations spanning across the region instead of a central headquarter, leaning towards continuing with the remote working model for its employees in the future.

The social media titan, Facebook, first arrived in Seattle in 2010. Over the years, it has amassed 3 million square feet of commercial space in the area and leases 850,000 square feet across a trio of buildings in the Spring District. The complex further adds to its serial expansion and consolidates its footprint in the upscale neighborhood of Bellevue, making Seattle region its second-largest office preceded by its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

As the country is reeling from the severe economic impact induced by the pandemic, several corporations and the commercial real estate sector have been affected. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has embraced the remote working model until July 2021 and envisions that half of his employees would permanently start working from home within the next decade. Yet, the firm has been on a buying spree with the recent purchase of office space in New York.  Facebook employs more than 5,000 people across Seattle and is expected to recruit thousands once the complex is operational. It currently has more than four hundred open job listings.

“Our growth over the last decade is a testament to the thriving community and immense talent pool that has welcomed us with open arms,” said Nick Raby, Facebook’s director of North American real estate, in a statement to AP. “This purchase doubles downs on our investment in Bellevue and our commitment to the Pacific Northwest.”

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