Expedia confirmed Thursday it will move its corporate headquarters to the 40-acre Amgen campus, a fairly isolated site about three miles from the central Seattle waterfront.
Expedia confirmed Thursday it will move its corporate headquarters to the 40-acre Amgen campus, a fairly isolated site about three miles from the central Seattle waterfront, where it expects to have 4,500 employees within a few years.
At a morning news conference with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the property, which Expedia is buying for $228.9 million, “will be a magnet for top talent.”
Expedia expects to complete its move from downtown Bellevue to the site by the end of 2018, constructing 200,000 square feet of additional space, according to Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom.
The campus has 750,000 square feet of buildings and plenty of vacant land.
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Amgen spent more than $600 million building the campus, which includes both offices and laboratory space, after it acquired Seattle biotech Immunex in 2002. Expedia expects the extensive renovation of those buildings will likely take 18 to 24 months.
“Bellevue was a great place for us as well,” said Khosrowshahi. “But Seattle is a place where a lot technology talent wants to live, so the Seattle address is certainly a positive.”
At the same time, the move to the new location already is raising concerns about traffic congestion and commuting options.
Currently, the Bellevue-based online travel company has 3,000 Bellevue employees, and leases more than half a million square feet in downtown Bellevue.
The area is not served by a direct bus route from the Eastside, where the company said 75 percent of its headquarters employees now live.
Company officials said Expedia expects to add to the Amgen site’s 1,100 parking spots, but also will offer incentives to employees to get there by other means, and is considering shuttle service from downtown Seattle and/or the Eastside.
Murray said that as a result of a November ballot issue in Seattle, bus transit should improve in that area.
Expedia’s calculations indicate the average employee commute time will increase 5 to 6 minutes. It added that employees were talking about the commute but were also excited about the new headquarters.
“We’re aware that some of our employees’ commutes are going to get longer and we want to make sure that we don’t create traffic congestion,” said Khosrowshahi. “We get a couple of years to put those plans together but believe me we’re dedicated to making it good for our employees and also good for the city.”
The unique Amgen site, which Immunex acquired from the Port of Seattle in the 1990s at a time when it was the region’s big biotechnology success story, was key to Expedia’s decision, Khosrowshahi said.
“It was a tough decision to leave Bellevue. But the opportunity to own an iconic waterfront headquarters for us was too good to pass up,” he said.
The property purchase is expected to close by the end of June. Expedia did not disclose the cost of renovating the existing structures and putting up new buildings.
Murray said the city has been in conversations with the city of Bellevue. “I’m committed and the city’s committed to a regional metropolitan economy,” he said. “If one part benefits, the other part benefits.”
Bellevue city manager Brad Miyake said the city is disappointed to see Expedia leave.
“We see this as a real-estate decision — pure and simple. With the Downtown Bellevue office space market as tight as it is, there just wasn’t the available space to accommodate Expedia’s expansion in the time frame they needed,” he said in a statement.
Bellevue Downtown Association president Patrick Bannon said in an email that “although a move of this size will be a test for the office market, many other fast-growing, innovative companies will continue to locate, grow and thrive here.”