Amazon Joins U.S. Office Building Revival

Technology companies help drive nascent rebound in office development.

Amazon.com Inc., which agreed to buy its Seattle headquarters for $1.16 billion, plans to start construction next year on the first of three new buildings that would add another 3 million square feet (278,700 square meters) as technology companies expand and invest in real estate.

Apple Inc.’s blueprint for a new 175-acre campus in Cupertino, California, features a futuristic ring-shaped main building of about 2.8 million square feet designed by British architect Norman Foster’s firm. Facebook Inc. will start on an expansion to its Menlo Park, California, headquarters that would add a single-story building designed by Frank Gehry with about 430,000 square feet, or enough for about 2,800 engineers.

Credit Freeze

The loans were among the worst-performing mortgages following the credit freeze in 2008. Default rates jumped from less than 1 percent of banks’ outstanding loan balances in 2007 when commercial property values peaked, to a high of 15.2 percent in 2010’s third quarter, according to Chandan Economics.

Expansion Costs

Google fell 8 percent Thursday after reporting third-quarter profit and sales that missed analysts’ estimates, signaling costs associated with new expansion are chipping away at profitability. The stock was down 2.7 percent at 1:04 p.m. Friday New York time. That trimmed this year’s gain to 4.7 percent.

Minneapolis Headquarters

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area leads the U.S. for most office construction as a percentage of the existing market, followed by Houston and Boston, according to a Sept. 21 report by Michael Bilerman, an analyst at Citigroup Inc.

Seattle Growth

Seattle ranks seventh nationally for new office construction as a percentage of the existing market, according to the report from Bilerman, the Citigroup analyst.

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