When tech companies from the San Francisco area look to grow outside their backyard, Seattle is the most common landing spot, a new report found.
According to research from real estate firm CBRE, Bay Area companies have taken 3.5 million square feet of office space in the Seattle region over the last five years, barely edging out New York City as the top expansion market. Other popular landing spots include Southern California, Boston, Austin, Chicago and Portland.
It’s not just San Francisco companies that covet these markets. Of the nine non-Seattle markets in this top 10, seven of them are finalists for Amazon’s HQ2. Only Portland and Phoenix didn’t make the cut.
GeekWire tracks the number of out-of-town tech companies that have opened up engineering offices in the Seattle area, and the figure now stands at more than 100. San Francisco companies are well-represented on that list.
Google now has more than 3,000 people in the Seattle area, and Facebook will soon have capacity for a similar amount. Apple has a smaller presence in Seattle, but it too is growing rapidly.
Still, these companies don’t measure up to Seattle’s homegrown tech giants in terms of their real estate footprint. In its HQ2 announcement, Amazon said it occupied 8.1 million square feet of office space in Seattle, but GeekWire research found with future plans and commitments its footprint could grow to 13.5 million square feet. Microsoft over in Redmond, Wash. has a massive, sprawling campus of approximately 15 million square feet spread across 125 buildings.
Companies are attracted to Seattle because of its highly educated population and huge pool of tech talent. Despite being the long-running hottest housing market in the nation, Seattle is still a cheaper place to live than San Francisco.
CBRE’s research backs up other findings about the growing San Francisco to Seattle connection. A year ago, LinkedIn found that Seattle has gained the most workers from San Francisco. Redfin found that wanderlusting Bay Area residents frequently look to Seattle when looking to escape their current situation.