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March 30, 2016

REI eyes Spring District for a new HQ campus

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REI said it wants to “embed the outdoors” in its campus, with lots of green space and places for open-air meetings.

REI has a non-binding agreement to take eight acres in Bellevue's Spring District for a new headquarters campus.

The outdoor company said in a statement yesterday it has outgrown its 170,000-square-foot headquarters in Kent and is looking for a new location.

A representative from Wright Runstad & Co., which is developing the Spring District, said REI would buy the land, which makes up more than 20 percent of the 36-acre property.

The deal is not final so REI or Wright Runstad could pull out at any time without penalties. REI said it will decide by the end of the summer whether to go ahead with a Spring District campus.

REI named its partners for the potential campus: Wright Runstad, architect NBBJ, real estate consultant Heartland LLC, and branding and design firm Hornall Anderson.

A new REI headquarters could open there by 2020, but REI did not give any details about how much space it plans to build.

REI said the proximity of transit and outdoor space are among its top priorities in choosing a new location. Sound Transit Link light rail will reach the Spring District in 2023, and REI said it is encouraged by recent transit investments such as bike lanes and trails.

When the Spring District is complete it will have more than 2 acres of open space. REI said about a dozen parks are within walking distance of the site.

REI said it wants to “embed the outdoors” in its campus, with lots of green space and places to hold open-air meetings.

Wright Runstad said in a statement that a deal with REI would accelerate the second phase of the Spring District plan. Security Properties is constructing more than 300 apartments as part of the first phase. Security Properties and AMLI Residential are planning more housing projects.

Wright Runstad said construction is set to begin this summer on a campus for Global Innovation Exchange, a project-based technology institute created by University of Washington and Tsinghua University in China. The first classes are expected to begin in fall 2017.

The Spring District could ultimately have up to 5.3 million square feet of offices, retail, housing and parks. Development could cost approximatively $2.3 billion.


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