Most of the company’s 1,000 Seattle-area employees call the new building home, and there’s room to accommodate 2,000 in all.
Facebook has jumped into the booming South Lake Union neighborhood, moving into custom-built office space about a mile northwest of the company’s previous Seattle outpost.
The social-networking company’s Seattle employees moved into their new offices at 1101 Dexter Ave. N. last week, and on Monday the company invited local leaders and media for a peek at the new digs.
The 10-story, 335,000-square-foot building is home to most of Facebook’s roughly 1,000 employees in the area, and boasts rooftop decks with sweeping views of Lake Union. Also present are standard-issue technology-industry amenities, including snack bars, quirky meeting spaces and a communal vibe.
The facility has space for about 2,000 workers. Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global head of engineering, said the company planned to reach that number eventually but didn’t say when that might be.
Most Read Business Stories
- Amazon-owned Whole Foods cuts healthcare benefits for part-time employees
- The market's chilled out, but Seattle home prices still too hot for many first-time buyers
- 'I was stupid': Huffman gets 14 days in college scam VIEW
- Amazon workers bring parents to work
- Air Force finds another problem with Boeing's KC-46 tanker
The company started a Seattle software engineering office in 2010 to tap into the technology talent in the region flowing from Microsoft, Amazon.com and other companies. It is Facebook’s largest engineering center outside its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.
Seattle-based teams have led development of the Facebook Messenger chat service’s video calling and the “cold storage” technology that helps company data centers more efficiently store the photos and other content people post to the social- networking site, among other initiatives.
“Seattle is really a key part of our long-term mission,” said Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer.
Schroepfer and Parikh were among the executives who traveled to Seattle for Monday’s events. The Seattle office doesn’t have a single leader. Instead, engineering teams report to their parent organizations in California.
Facebook’s expanded presence “really secures our place on the map,” Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas said at Facebook’s event on Monday. “Seattle is fortunate to have such anchor tenants.”
Previously, Facebook occupied several floors of the Metropolitan Park towers, near Interstate 5. Some employees of Facebook-owned virtual-reality company Oculus will continue to work from a separate Seattle office space.
The company is the latest corporate giant to put down roots in South Lake Union, the formerly sleepy district now bustling with the activity of thousands of Amazon.com employees and a cluster of health-care and research institutions.
While Amazon’s campus is full of employees’ canine companions, Facebook chose to forgo that common technology-company recruiting perk. Dogs aren’t allowed in the new office.
Facebook’s offices sit three blocks north of Mercer Street, the often traffic-choked artery that connects to Interstate 5, ferrying drivers to Seattle Center and neighborhoods beyond.
More are coming. Construction is scheduled to begin next year on four buildings for a large Google campus along Mercer near Fairview Avenue, a few blocks east of Facebook’s campus.
To the west, online travel- booking giant Expedia plans to move its headquarters to the old Amgen corporate campus at Mercer’s western terminus near Elliott Bay.
Facebook’s Parikh said the company had taken South Lake Union’s congestion into account when planning the office, and has worked to keep the number of employees driving alone to work to a minimum. The company operates a shuttles for residents in the city and some suburbs, and offers resources for carpooling.
“We’re working really closely with the city, and we’ll continue to do our part,” Parikh said.
Employees can watch as the neighborhood changes, with views that stretch from Capitol Hill to South Lake Union’s construction cranes and downtown. Eight rooftop decks offer outdoor seating; one includes landscaping and a large fire pit.
Inside, a cafeteria, called Like Place Market, opens up near an auditorium of bare wood stadium-style seating.
The offices were designed by Frank Gehry, the world renowned architect behind Seattle’s EMP Museum, as well as Facebook campuses in Silicon Valley and New York. Seattle’s LMN Architects designed the building.
Exposed wood, concrete and metal is a theme of the office, touches designed to evoke an unfinished, startup mentality.
That puts Facebook in good company among area corporate giants keen to preach as corporate culture their startup past. Some Amazon workers walk every day into buildings called Day One.
“Our work isn’t done,” said Vijaye Raji, an engineering director who left Microsoft for Facebook in 2011, joining an office then made up of a handful of engineers and empty desks.
Information in this article, originally published May 16, 2016, was corrected May 18, 2016. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that architect Frank Gehry designed the building that hosts Facebook’s offices. He designed Facebook’s office space. Seattle-based LMN Architects designed the building.