After abandoning its plans for a centralized Bellevue headquarters last year, REI has picked Issaquah for one of its several planned satellite offices.
The company announced Wednesday it will open an office for about 400 employees “surrounded by trail networks and sandwiched between Lake Sammamish Park and Cougar Mountain Wildland Park.”
REI will build out and lease a just-finished 68,876-square-foot office space at 2005 N.W. Poplar Way in Issaquah. The four-story office building advertises in-building showers, bike racks and several electric vehicle charging stations.
A company spokesperson declined to share financial details. The building developer listed the asking rent last fall as $38 per square foot.
REI’s shift to satellite work sites embodies what some predict could happen to traditional offices as work-from-home policies became commonplace. Demand for office space has dropped, especially in downtown Seattle, as some companies offer up their office space for sublease.
Early in the pandemic, REI headquarters employees began working from home and the company furloughed many retail employees when stores were temporarily closed. In May, the company expected a 35% drop in revenues for 2020. (REI later said sales outperformed its earlier forecasts.)
In August, REI said it would sell the never-used campus in Bellevue in favor of dispersing its headquarters to several offices, including an existing site in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.
Some employees could be working in the Issaquah building by late summer, but that depends on pandemic safety conditions, said REI spokesperson Halley Knigge.
The company said it also plans to “test a model” allowing headquarters employees to work from home up to five days a week.
“Instead of dedicated workspaces,” REI said in a news release, “each employee can choose the combination of locations that best suit their role, work and team on a given day — including satellite offices, coffee shops, home offices or even local parks.”