Expedia publicly announced its decision this week to purchase the Amgen campus and relocate its Bellevue headquarters to Seattle in late 2018. This is a good move for Expedia, providing the space the company needs for future growth and the Seattle address it desires for attracting quality tech talent.
This week’s media has been full of speculation about the impact this major corporate relocation will have on downtown Bellevue. Bellevue probably doesn’t have anything to worry about. Expedia’s departure in late 2018 is still 3 1/2 years away. With the strong economy, shortage of quality office space in downtown Bellevue and high interest in the office towers currently under construction, its likely the Expedia space could be leased before its vacated. The departing 3,000 employees will be quickly replaced by companies who will occupy not only the Expedia Building but also three other office towers under construction by Kemper Development, Schnitzer West and Trammel Crow.
Getting back to the significance of a Seattle address for attracting talent . . . a Bellevue address certainly isn’t lacking in appeal. Downtown Bellevue is home to national and international corporations and has a vibrant and growing central business district. No matter where you live on the eastside there’s access to high quality neighborhood public schools, safe communities, thriving local economies, world class health care, some of the finest shopping north of San Francisco, dining, arts and entertainment venues and dozens of urban, lakefront and sports parks. This is a really great place to live and work.
75% of Expedia’s 3,000 employees currently live on the eastside. It will be interesting to see what percentage of those employees make the move to Elliott Bay. And what impact will adding that many commuters have on Seattle traffic. Move over Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba commuters – you’ve got company coming.