Seattle has become the battleground for tech giants Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. Here’s how that’s keeping real-estate deals going despite the pandemic. (FB, GOOG, AMZN, MSFT)

Seattle Washington

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In Seattle, not even a pandemic that has upended daily life, commerce, and the future of the workplace has gotten in the way of an increasingly heated rivalry for tech talent between industry giants.

The roughly 111-million-square-foot office market spread across several cities surrounding Lake Washington has long been dominated by huge homegrown tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft.

More recently it has seen the rapid entry of major competitors, including Google and Facebook in recent years, who have been eager to swoop in and grab a share of the region’s vaunted workforce.

That growth has withstood the virus crisis, even as companies in most other sectors put decisions to take offices on hold or even seek to dump space on the market for sublease.

Wealthy technology firms have weathered or even thrived during the pandemic and continue to lay plans for gleaming new offices in the future that they believe will remain a key part of their efforts to lure top talent.

“All of the feedback that we’re getting from major tenants is that this is a temporary blip,” said John Miller, managing director at brokerage and commercial real-estate services firm CBRE who oversees the company’s greater Seattle operations. “Everyone recognizes Seattle as a hotbed for talent and that you need to be here to compete for it.”

Google, for instance, this month completed the acquisition of a large development site and neighboring car dealership in Kirkland, a close-by suburb of Seattle that, along with Redmond and Bellevue, are considered part of the area’s Eastside market. The properties, which total more than five acres, can accommodate hundreds of thousands of square feet of new office development.

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Google confirmed the purchase to Business Insider. A later report from Bloomberg indicated Google told employees in an internal memo that it purchased the plot along with roughly five additional acres. Google declined to comment and the acquisition of the additional land has not yet posted in the city’s property records.

The deals followed another acquisition in July by Google in which it paid $40 million for a separate plot of land in Kirkland. Google told Business Insider that site would “serve as additional space for long-term growth in the area.”

Facebook, meanwhile, in September said that it paid $367.6 million to buy an under-construction office building totaling roughly 400,000 square feet that was previously planned as the headquarters for the outdoor retailer REI.

Why tech firms are still committed to the office even as workers stay remote

Major tech firms have been among the most cautious in bringing employees back to the office, with Google, Facebook, and others postponing their plans for a return until next summer at the earliest.

As the pandemic surges again across the country, that timeline could be pushed back even further. Some may never occupy space the same way, permitting employees to work remotely on a permanent basis or split time between the office and home.

The recent commitments, however, underscore that those factors haven’t upended a core strategy for tech firms in recent years …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Finance


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