The Architect’s Newspaper reported in August that REI would be selling its new NBBJ-designed headquarters before even moving in because of a company-wide shift to remote working after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. REI was supposed to fill out the 8-acre campus in the summer of 2020.
Though REI has laid off employees since the pandemic began, the building sale is being driven by a new focus on remote working and smaller, distributed offices, representatives from the company have said. The move comes at a time when many other businesses are following that precedent, shifting the bulk of their operations out of urban centers and into employees’ homes.
Facebook has reportedly bought the building for $367.6 million and will move 2,300 employees into it. This will add to Facebook’s growing presence in the Puget Sound region, and Bellevue’s status as a hub for technology companies. According to CNBC, Amazon announced recently that it will hire 10,000 employees in the city in addition to the 15,000 jobs it had already planned to create in the area. It’s also planning a 43-story tower in the city.
Bellevue sits just across Lake Washington from Seattle, and it has an estimated population of 148,164. Tech companies like Microsoft are already among the largest employers in the city, and the new moves by Amazon and Facebook will bolster the city’s tech jobs base.