As a recent Puget Sound Business Journal article put it, “The Eastside office market has FANGs.” However fitting, they aren’t referencing the region’s sharp teeth; they are talking about a group of tech titans: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. Many companies have been drawn to the area in recent years and with the promise of the LINK Light Rail system connecting the Eastside and downtown Seattle in 2023, even more have their sights set on locations in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and beyond. Market experts say that while an Eastside presence was bound to happen, Seattle’s less-than-friendly business approach is spurring the inevitable.
“It’s clear the Eastside is capturing more and more of the region’s economic expansion from Seattle, which this spring burnished its anti-business reputation when City Hall approved a $250 per-employee tax on big businesses to fund homeless services,” Puget Sound Business Journal writes. Though the head tax was overturned, many say, the damage was done.
By current count, Amazon already has 2,000 employees in Bellevue and is likely to expand by 2,500 more by the end of the decade — that figure represents nearly 10 percent of the Emerald City workforce.
According to Puget Sound Business Journal, the below projects represent some of the most exciting developments on the Eastside:
· Vulcan Real Estate recently increased plans for the size of their new big developments in Bellevue, projected to be 17 percent larger than the original 800,000 square foot plan.
· The emerging Spring District will house all of REI’s 1,500 headquarter employees when the project is finished in 2020.
· Onni Group (a Vancouver, B.C.-based developer) is planning a three-tower project at 606 to 620 106th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue.
· Fortress Group LLC plans Avenue Bellevue, a two-tower project that will rise at 10300 Northeast Eighth Street in Bellevue.
· Pinnacle International purchased an 11-acre property north of Bellevue Square for $145 million last year.
· Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all announced or are in progress of Eastside office expansion plans, with Facebook reaching nearly 1 million square feet of office space for the Oculus Labs Division in Redmond, and Microsoft’s renovation accommodating space for another 8,000 employees.
As Brian O’Connor of O’Connor Consulting Group tells Puget Sound Business Journal, over the next five years, the Eastside “is where the action is going to be. This is the Eastside’s time.”