SEATTLE – REI announced that it has finalized an agreement to relocate its headquarters to a section of the Spring District in Bellevue, Wash. Having announced intentions in March, the deal is now complete. The vision is to create a hub that is accessible, sustainable and connected to the local outdoor community.
“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.
“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.
· The co-op currently employs more than 1,400 on its campus in Kent, Wash., where it has been located since 1988, and several satellite offices throughout the Puget Sound area.
· REI will develop eight acres of land in a section of the Spring District, between SR 520 and Bel-Red Road.
· REI is ranked one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and Glassdoor’s 50 best places to work. Both organizations recently recognized the co-op again as one of the 20 Best Workplaces in Retail.
· REI was advised by Heartland, LLC, a Seattle-based real estate advisory and investment firm, in this transaction.
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 6 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 146 stores in 35 states.