A half-mile stretch of the Elliott Bay Trail that has been closed since last July will reopen Saturday, Sept. 7, with a renovated path.
The trail section is on edge of a triangle-shaped corner in Interbay where the online travel company Expedia Group is moving from Bellevue.
The first wave of Expedia employees, about 100 to 200 people, will start working in the buildings on Oct. 7. A couple hundred workers will move to the new campus every few weeks until construction is complete, sometime around February 2020.
The campus will house about 4,500 employees.
The 40-acre site had been home to the biotechnology company Amgen, which announced the closure of its Seattle and Bothell operations in 2014.
Expedia says it spent $9 million on projects and upgrades that included the waterfront trail, but it declined to say how much it spent specifically on the trail improvements.
Previously, cyclists turned a sharp corner on the trail’s point that made oncoming traffic hard to see. Now, riders will travel a more-rounded curve along the path.
Seating has been added along the water’s edge to provide views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier.
A pedestrian bridge, designed during the Amgen era to look like a DNA molecule’s double helix and equipped with an elevator, crosses the railroad tracks along Elliott Avenue West, providing access to the trail.
The bike and walking path is owned and maintained by Expedia but open to the public, similar to Amazon’s Seventh Avenue cycle track.
The city made two specific requirements in approving the trail redevelopment: Separate pedestrians and bicyclists on the path and soften the bend in the sharp turn. Other improvements that were made, such landscaping and seating, were not required.
An opening celebration will be held Saturday, with coffee and doughnuts, as a way to thank cyclists and pedestrians who navigated path closures for 13 months. Expedia staff will be on hand to answer questions about the company’s impacts in the area.
“We took away the path for a few months. Now we want to welcome people back and introduce Expedia Group to the neighborhood,” company spokesman Josh deBerge said.
The Expedia campus features a large parking garage with space for 2,300 cars. But the company said it is encouraging commuting options other than driving, and it has built 400 bike-parking spaces and is providing an on-site bike mechanic.
As a replacement to parking that was available on 16th Avenue, 30 public spaces will be available in the new parking structure, free of charge.
The company will provide free parking — initially — for carpools and free ORCA cards for those who work at least 20 hours and three times per week. It also will pay $5 a day to employees who walk, bike, take transit or join a van pool.
Expedia has also pledged up to $3 million in matching funds to renovate a nearby Centennial Park pier that closed in 2017. That could provide money for public restrooms at the pier.
Future plans for the pier could include a water taxi “someday down the road,” deBerge said, but the timeline depends on funding from the state and the Port of Seattle.