Rendering of the proposed Longacres football training facility (Via Sounders FC)

RENTON, Wash. — Longacres, the historic property that once boasted a famous racetrack and the former headquarters of Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes Group, is now home to Seattle Sounders FC.

But the new Renton-based facility for Major League Soccer’s winningest team in the past decade, which will feature four full-size training pitches, a state-of-the-art 50,000-square-foot front office with a sightings and sweeping views of Mount Rainier — isn’t all that’s on the cards for the 150-acre campus acquired late last year by Seattle-based Unico Properties.

In an interview with GeekWire following a rave green-ornate press briefing on Wednesday, Unico’s Ned Carner said they have big ambitions for Longacres.

And it goes far beyond football.

There’s a good reason for that, as the massive property has 962,800 square feet of Class-A commercial office space spread across two amenity-rich (and largely empty) buildings.

It’s a real estate footprint that tech companies may want, says Carner, who would like to attract one or two to the Sounders’ new backyard.

“This is an incredibly well-constructed space, so being able to provide affordable space for large tenants in a campus (setting) is really unique,” ​​Carner said, adding that there is a one-mile walking path around it. of a lake and “unprecedented”. freeway access to Interstate 405.

The Sounders’ New Home (Render via Sounders)

The Sounders won’t move into the new academy and headquarters until 2024, but Carner said the remaining 900,000 square feet are about ready to move in.

“The space itself is unique,” Carner said. “But where else do you get a campus feel where all of your employees would feel safe walking and jogging after work?”

Unico also plans to build up to 3,000 multi-family units on the site, located adjacent to the Tukwila Transit Center with regular train service to Seattle’s King Street Station. The journey on the aptly named Sounder commuter train takes approximately 13 minutes between the two stations.

Office tenants looking for large floor plates and high ceilings who might be considering moving from Seattle are possible targets, especially those operating in the technology, life sciences and aerospace industries. , Carner said. Part of the appeal, he added, is that companies can draw on talent from Seattle and Bellevue.

The Longacres’ North Building covers approximately 600,000 square feet, while the South Building – where the Sounders are based – is approximately 300,000 square feet.

Longacres is located 13 miles south of Seattle’s Lumen Field, where the Sounders play their home games. It is also 21 km south of the booming downtown Bellevue and 8 km east of Sea-Tac Airport.

The City of Renton has a long history of building its image, seeking to attract high-growth employers as part of a strategy to diversify an economy once dependent on Boeing and aerospace.

While nearby Seattle and Bellevue are bursting at the seams, Renton could serve as an alternative tech destination.

In 2018, GeekWire looked at the possibilities of realizing this emerging hub, a dream put aside by the pandemic. Few tech companies call Renton home. And its most prominent geek-oriented company is Wizards of the Coast, creator of the card game Magic: The Gathering.

Renton’s mixed-use Southport campus, located on the south shore of Lake Washington, has marketed more than 700,000 square feet of Class A office space directly to technology companies since 2019. It landed its first tenant, the firm consultancy The Partners Group, in 20,000 square feet earlier this month.

Sounders FC President Peter Tomozawa, King Dow County Executive Constantine, Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer, Unico’s Ned Carner, Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone and Sounders FC General Manager Garth Lagerwey during the inauguration of the Sounders FC center in Longacres. (Photo GeekWire)

Renton received more good news today. Topgolf has announced that its golf and entertainment center in the city is expected to open in late summer or early fall, which means the city will now attract football, golf and soccer fanatics. (The Seattle Seahawks training facility is also in Renton).

For the Sounders, the move of the Starfire training complex to Tukwila near Longacres’ facilities in Renton marks “one of the most significant moments in the history of our club,” majority owner Adrian Hanauer said. He declined to specify the exact cost of the project, but noted that it was in the tens of millions of dollars.

“Our organization has invested a great deal of time and thought in the process of selecting the ideal site for a new home and reimagining what that home represents, for our team and the wider community,” Hanauer said in a statement. . “With Longacres, we have found a place steeped in Pacific Northwest history where the Sounders – a team that brings their own deep roots, growing since 1974 – can plant our flag and create a home for our next 50 years. .”