Amazon confirms major office lease in Bellevue, will occupy former Expedia headquarters

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1 of 2 Expedia will move from its Bellevue headquarters to a new corporate campus on Elliott Bay in Seattle next year. Amazon will take over the space that it occupies at 333 108th Avenue Northeast in 2020. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
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Amazon will occupy the soon-to-be-former Expedia headquarters in downtown Bellevue beginning in 2020. The tower will give Amazon room for a total of about 4,500 workers in the city.

Amazon has signed a long-term lease for a second Bellevue office tower, a move that will give the retail and technology giant enough office space for 4,500 employees in the city.

Equity Commonwealth, which owns the skyscraper at 333 108th Avenue Northeast, said in a regulatory filing that an Amazon affiliate last week signed a 16-year lease for more than 400,000 square feet, all of the 20-story building’s office space, beginning in 2020.

That space is currently occupied by Expedia, but the travel booking company plans to decamp to a newly refurbished corporate campus on Elliott Bay in Seattle next year.

The lease marks the second major Eastside expansion for Amazon, which was founded in Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’s Bellevue home in 1994 and moved to Seattle a year later.

In late 2016, in the midst of its frantic expansion in Seattle’s South Lake Union and Denny Triangle districts, the company established a beachhead across Lake Washington with the lease of the 16-story, 354,000-square-foot Centre 425 building at Northeast Fourth Street and 106th Avenue Northeast. About 2,000 people work there now, said Sam Kennedy, an Amazon spokesman. He said the new lease brings space for an additional 2,500 workers.

That’s poised to make Bellevue an important outpost in Amazon’s expanding constellation of North American research and development and sales offices, which collectively employ at least 17,500 people, with announced plans for some 10,000 more. The Puget Sound Business Journal spotted the regulatory filing confirming the new Bellevue lease earlier Tuesday.

Some in Seattle’s business and real estate community have speculated that Amazon, which is also seeking to place a second headquarters campus in one of 20 finalist regions, could turn to Bellevue as an outlet for office space that is growing increasingly expensive in its hometown. The lease also follows Amazon’s threat this spring to halt some development in Seattle as the city council debated a tax on large businesses to fund homelessness services. Bolstered in part by Amazon’s stand, Seattle’s business community rallied behind a repeal push that convinced the city to nix the measure before it could take effect.

Amazon’s footprint in Seattle includes about 10 million square feet of office space, with plans for an additional 4 million square feet by 2022. The company topped 45,000 employees in Seattle early this year. Kennedy, the Amazon spokesman, declined to disclose an updated figure Tuesday.

Matt Day: 206-464-2420 or mday@seattletimes.com.