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Expedia Priming for New Interbay Headquarters

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By Robert Carlsen

Online travel firm Expedia Inc. recently named Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) as the lead architect to design its new headquarters in Seattle, which it plans to move to in 2018 when Expedia’s current lease runs out in Bellevue.

Earlier this year, Expedia purchased the 40-acre waterfront campus of biotech company Amgen for $228.9 million. The campus, located on Smith Cove in the Interbay neighborhood, includes 750,000 square feet of existing buildings and space for more development.

Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen, which had about 650 employees in its Seattle office, is in the midst of a company restructuring plan. Amgen said it wants to move out of its Seattle campus by the end of this year.

Expedia is expanding rapidly: Since last year, it has acquired two online travel booking rivals, Travelocity and, most recently, Orbitz Worldwide. It also owns Hotels.com, Hotwire and Trivago.

Though no development design plans have been released by Expedia and BCJ, Expedia said its new home features views of downtown Seattle, Mt. Rainier, the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains along with outdoor recreational areas, onsite dining options and a state-of-the-art fitness facility. Expedia currently has 3,000 employees at its Bellevue campus.

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at a press conference in April when the deal was announced with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray that it was a “tough decision to leave Bellevue, which has been a welcoming and supportive home to Expedia for many years.”

“Owning an iconic waterfront headquarters will position us well in the competition for top talent and aligns with the ‘work hard, play hard’ culture that defines Expedia. We are highly supportive of Seattle’s commitments to attract and grow the pool of highly-qualified talent in the area and we are excited to continue to be part of King County’s technology-based economy.”

“We are excited to be working with Expedia to build their extraordinary new home in the city of Seattle,” said Peter Bohlin, founding principal of Bohin, Cywinski Jackson, in a statement. “Plans for the iconic campus are still being developed, but our vision is for an innovative balance of new and existing buildings that reflect the spirit of Expedia, as well as the natural beauty of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.”

The 50-year-old architectural firm, which is based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and has offices in Seattle and San Francisco, is known for being the lead architect on several Apple retail stores nationally and designed Seattle City Hall with Bassetti Architects and the Ballard Library. BCJ was also chosen by Steve Jobs to design Pixar’s corporate headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. in 1999.