T-Mobile confirmed an expected remodel and lease extension at its Factoria headquarters on Nov. 19, meaning the cell phone service provider will stay in Bellevue at least through 2030.
The announcement came in a press release issued on Monday which said T-Mobile had renewed it’s Bellevue lease through 2030 and had already broken ground on a $160 million renovation that will reshape its campus. It is expected to be completed within three years.
Over the past five years, the press release said, T-Mobile has increased its employees at the Factoria campus by more than 56 percent to about 6,200, excluding retail employees. In total, there are about 8,100 workers employed by T-Mobile in Puget Sound.
The new campus will come with a new aesthetic, heavily including its trademark magenta coloring, as well as on-campus amenities like dry-cleaning drop-off, a bike repair station, poke bowls and an onsite pub, the release said.
New jobs will require housing, and that could potentially come from a redevelopment by the owners of the nearby Factoria Mall. The owner submitted an application to redevelop the mall and create 685 housing units at the Marketplace at Factoria.
The city of Bellevue issued a press release congratulating T-Mobile on its campus renovation project. The city economic development department has been working with T-Mobile for more than a year to keep the phone service provider in the city.
“With Bellevue’s strong history in supporting telecommunications companies, it makes perfect sense for T-Mobile to decide to stay and prosper here,” Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak said in a press release.
In addition to expanding and remodeling its campus, T-Mobile has been hoping since May to buy out Sprint, making the merged T-Mobile into the nation’s third-largest mobile provider.
The $26 billion purchase would result in a $146 billion company. Deutsch Telekom owns T-Mobile and would subsequently own 42 percent of the holdings, followed by 27 percent to be held by Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Group. If successful, the new T-Mobile would have more than 135 million subscribers, within 15 million from the most popular provider, Verizon Wireless.
As the lease extension and remodeling plans show, T-Mobile has decided to stay in Bellevue for another 12 years, but if the merger with Sprint is approved, the company has said it will look at building a second headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., where Sprint is currently based. Additionally, about $6 billion in “synergies,” which often means layoffs, were expected.
T-Mobile is furthermore hoping to buildout 5G infrastructure and create infrastructure nationwide which will power the “Internet of things” which is anticipated to be used in everything from self-driving cars to allowing streaming media platforms to compete against traditional cable providers.
As reported in August, T-Mobile is likely one of at least two mobile providers who have been building out small cell tower facilities across the Eastside. While Verizon had submitted several applications to install small cell network facilities, Mobilitie has been doing the same. Mobilitie has worked on behalf of T-Mobile across the country to build the facilities.
Small cell towers are smaller versions of regular cell towers, taking up less space and are less visible. They often attach to power or light poles or buildings. The 5G technology could increase Internet speeds for mobile devices from 100 Mbps to more than 10 Gbps, a more than 1,000-fold increase. In addition to Bellevue, small cell towers have either been built or plans approved in Bellevue, Kirkland, Newcastle, Mercer Island and Issaquah in recent years.