“League of Legends” and “VALORANT” video game developer and publisher Riot Games has purchased the former Farmers Insurance property building on Mercer Island.
The Los Angeles-based company closed the deal on Dec. 8 for the 156,000-square-foot, five-story building. Located at 3003 77th Ave. SE, the property stands across the street from Mercerdale Park at the corner of 77th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 32nd Street.
According to Riot Games, the company acquired the Mercer Park Workplace office building for $114.1 million from Mercer Park South LLC, which is affiliated with Ryan Companies partner Matt Burbach.
Riot Games plans to transform the centrally located building — which has access to public transporation and is near shops and restaurants — into a world-class facility and hire 400-plus employees to support engineering, research and development and live services for genre-defining games.
“We’re excited to plant roots with a permanent home on Mercer Island in the greater Seattle area,” said Scott Gelb, president of games at Riot Games. “The region has a wealth of passionate and talented game developers and we look forward to finding new folks from the area to join our teams.”
It’s a major economic development and advancement for Mercer Island, according to the city.
“Mercer Island is welcoming a unique and celebrated company to the community,” said City Manager Jessi Bon. “We’re excited to see Riot Games invest themselves here and we look forward to having 400 new workers collaborating, dining, exploring and calling the Island home.”
Added Gelb: “We look forward to being a part of the thriving community and meeting our new neighbors soon.”
Riot’s Mercer Island office will join the company’s 20-plus locations around the world, including United States facilities in St. Louis, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles. While Riot is currently working remotely, it plans to maintain a balance of virtual and in-person work across its offices, including the new Mercer Island facility.
“The infusion of 400 new jobs will replace those lost when Farmers left,” said Sarah Bluvas, the city’s economic development coordinator. “New jobs create not only the potential for new patrons of the more than 150 restaurants, retailers, and service providers located in the Town Center but also possible demand for new services.”
Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill founded Riot Games in 2006 and released its debut title, “League of Legends,” to worldwide acclaim in 2009. Led by CEO Nicolo Laurent, Riot Games has 3,000 employees and has been featured on numerous lists, including Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” “25 Best Companies to Work in Technology,” “100 Best Workplaces for Millennials,” and “50 Best Workplaces for Flexibility.”
The Reporter reached out to Ryan Companies and Burbach, but had not received a response at post time.