Facebook Leasing Space for 2,000 Employees in Seattle

It won’t be the Guggenheim, but Facebook’s new Seattle offices will have room for up to 2,000 employees, working on virtually everything the social networking company does. And the interior spaces will be designed by Frank Gehry.

Facebook confirmed reports by Bloomberg and others over the weekend that it is leasing 274,000 square feet of space in the Dexter Station building, just across Lake Union from its current Seattle offices, which it has occupied for three of the four years the Menlo Park, CA-based company has operated in the city. Facebook has an option for an additional 62,000 square feet, which would give it substantially all of the under-construction 10-story building at 1101 Dexter Ave.

“This should give us enough space to grow over the next few years to 2,000 employees before we’ll have to find something new again,” says Paul Carduner, site lead for the Facebook Seattle office.

The company has quickly grown to more than 500 employees here, most of whom are engineers, making this its largest engineering office outside of Menlo Park. Another 100 or so people work for virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR, which Facebook purchased for $2 billion last year, in Redmond, WA, and elsewhere around Seattle.

Rendering of Dexter Station.

Rendering of Dexter Station.

The size of the Seattle operation and its proximity to Facebook headquarters means engineers here can work on just about every project and team within Facebook, including search, messaging, video, groups, platform, ads, mobile, infrastructure, and “a long tail of smaller projects,” Carduner says, speaking to local media Wednesday.

Oculus is part of that long tail, with hardware development, VR games software, and research and development happening in the Seattle area.

Other Facebook Seattle projects include optimizing video on Facebook, which now hosts more than a billion video views each day, and reducing energy usage in Facebook data centers by storing data accessed less frequently on hard drives or Blu-ray discs that are turned off when they reach capacity. When an old photo or comment is called up by a user, the storage is turned on and reconnected. This increases latency, but is a major energy saver, Carduner says.

For architecture aficionados, the Facebook office—which will feature open floor plans, large conference rooms, kitchens, decks, and other high-end tech company amenities—will be a short distance from the Gehry-designed Experience Music Project. Gehry has worked on several Facebook facilities, including its offices in New York and its headquarters campus. Carduner says the company plans to move into the new Seattle space early in 2016.

Trending on Xconomy