Today, REI announced that it has finalized an agreement to relocate its headquarters to a section of the Spring District in Bellevue.
After announcing the proposal in March, final paperwork could move the outdoor-gear cooperative store’s headquarters from Kent to Bellevue by 2020.
The company will develop eight acres of land in the Spring District, a 36-acre mixed-use urban neighborhood located between the Bel-Red corridor and State Route 520 in Bellevue, east of Downtown.
“We aspire to create something unexpected that embodies our co-op values. We’re envisioning a sustainable, transit-friendly, urban neighborhood that blends working space with green space, takes inspiration from the community around it, and connects to the rest of the Puget Sound area,” said Eric Artz, REI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The first phase of The Spring District is underway, with more than 300 apartments under construction. REI will develop about 20 percent of the property, which is designed to be open to multiple forms of transit as well as pedestrian and cyclist paths.
The Sound Transit East Link extension plans to open a light rail station at The Spring District by 2023.
“After 28 years in Kent, we have outgrown our current headquarters. So, we will build a campus as a gathering place that fosters creativity and connects thousands of increasingly mobile employees,” Artz continued.
Founded in 1938 in Seattle, REI has deep roots in the Puget Sound community. In 2016, the co-op invested nearly $750,000 in outdoor places and causes in and around the Puget Sound area, including grants to Northwest Avalanche Center, Washington Trails Association and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The co-op also opened a new store at the nearby Bellevue Shopping Center earlier this month, relocating its Redmond location to better serve more than 126,000 active co-op members in the Bellevue area.
“We look forward to the ongoing dialogue with regional leaders on optimizing local outdoor spaces and commuting infrastructure, especially protected bike lanes,” Artz said.
The Spring District will be a walkable, green community with multi use, office and residential space, including the University of Washington’s and Microsoft’s Global Innovation Exchange and a brewpub space. REI’s partners for the new campus include Wright Runstad & Company (developer), NBBJ (architect), Lease Crutcher Lewis (builder) and Hornall Anderson (creative).
“We couldn’t be more thrilled that an organization with such strong roots in the Puget Sound community has selected the Spring District for its new headquarters. The values of the co-op, particularly around sustainability, align strongly with the values that are represented in the Spring District,” said Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad & Company.
“Creating a new home for REI is an exciting opportunity to rethink the future of work to help it better serve and connect with its employees, members and community. Offices should blur the boundaries between work and play, indoors and outdoors, public and private, adventure and rest. REI is the perfect partner to work with to design a campus that reflects this spirit of exploration and conservation,” said Mindy Levine-Archer, principal at NBBJ.
“REI means so much to the region and to many of us personally. We’re also proud to be part of this outstanding project team,” said Troy Bloedel, vice president at Lease Crutcher Lewis.