Social media giant TikTok is defying the tech industry’s broader real estate retrenchment as the company proceeds with plans to significantly expand its office space across the United States.
The tech firm, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is collectively looking to lease hundreds of thousands of square feet in Silicon Valley, the greater Seattle area, and Nashville, Tennessee, according to property records, people familiar with the potential deals, and CoStar data. In some cases, TikTok is even set to refill space left behind by a fellow tech company, underscoring the firm’s anomalous views on physical office space at a point when many of its counterparts shrink their own portfolios.
TikTok is in talks for more than 100,000 square feet in one of Nashville’s newest office developments, a person with knowledge of the company’s expansion plans confirmed to CoStar News. Construction on the 16-story Moore Building along the city’s famed Music Row was completed last year, and CBRE is marketing nearly 172,500 square feet of available office space, according to brokerage materials.
The Los Angeles-based company has been leasing three floors, or about 50,000 square feet, in a WeWork outpost at the One Nashville tower for the past couple of years while it has looked for more permanent space. TikTok accounts for about 75% of the coworking operator’s complete footprint in the downtown building.
Across the country, the social media firm’s parent is negotiating a sublease agreement to significantly expand its existing footprint in San Jose, California, according to a person familiar with the conversations. ByteDance already subleases just shy of 660,000 square feet at 1193 and 1199 Coleman Ave., space that was made available when streaming device producer Roku decided last year to offload a chunk of its Coleman Highline portfolio in an effort to curb expenses.
With help from Colliers, Roku is still looking to sublease the properties at 1143 and 1155 Coleman, according to brokerage marketing materials, giving ByteDance the potential to expand by more than 357,000 square feet if it decides to take over the additional buildings.
To be clear, neither TikTok nor ByteDance have finalized any of their latest efforts to expand their national office footprints and any pending discussions in San Jose, Nashville or Bellevue could fall through. However, the firm’s willingness to invest in its portfolio of physical workspaces is a welcome boost of optimism for the national office market, which has been flooded by unprecedented occupancy losses and not nearly enough demand to fill them.
Along with expansions in Silicon Valley and Nashville, TikTok is also in the final stages of more than doubling its existing space in Bellevue, Washington, according to city planning documents. The pending lease amounts to roughly 132,000 square feet in the Seattle suburb’s Lincoln Square North tower, boosting the company’s regional footprint to more than 242,000 square feet as it looks to aggressively hire and build out its Pacific Northwest workforce.
If realized, TikTok would replace Microsoft in the Bellevue tower after the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant dumped the space last year as part of an aggressive downsizing effort. TikTok already occupies more than 100,000 square feet a block away in the Key Center building, space it has accumulated since 2021 through a pair of sublease deals with enterprise tech company SAP Concur.
TikTok did not respond to CoStar News’ multiple requests for comment or details about its real estate expansion plans.
As companies shift their investment priorities and look to rein in extraneous expenses, TikTok’s expansion plans stand in stark contrast to tech giants that have dumped large swaths of unused office space around the world.
Of the 205 million square feet of sublease space available in the United States, about 25% can be attributed to the tech industry and its ongoing efforts to trim its previously vast real estate portfolio, according to CoStar and CBRE data.
New leasing volume is about 20% below the quarterly average reported in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CoStar analysis. What’s more, new leases are now about 20% smaller than their pre-COVID averages, meaning companies are figuring out how to do more with less as they try to optimize their real estate and adjust to shifts in where and how often employees come to work.
Escalated in-person mandates among companies such as Amazon, Meta, Tesla, and others throughout the tech industry have yet to move the needle on office attendance rates, which are still about half of what they were prior to 2020, according to CoStar and data from Kastle Systems.
TikTok, which employs about 7,000 people in the United States, last fall rolled out an escalated mandate that requires its U.S. workforce to commute to a physical office at least three times a week, with some workers expected for a full five-day workweek. The stricter attendance policy was introduced alongside TikTok’s MyRTO, or my return to office, an app that monitors badge swipes and keeps track of whether employees are adhering to the in-person mandates.
The company also leases space for offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, Texas.