Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will hold a press conference on Thursday to announce a “major publicly-traded firm” with “several thousand employees” that is relocating its office to Seattle.
The Puget Sound Business Journal reported on Wednesday that the firm in question is Expedia, moving from its downtown Bellevue headquarters to the Amgen complex along Elliott Bay.
An Expedia spokesperson told GeekWire that the company “does not have any information to share at this time.” Emily Christensen, spokesperson for the City of Bellevue, said that the city had not received a formal announcement and did not have comment.
Amgen announced plans to close its Seattle campus last July, creating an opening for one of Seattle’s prime real estate properties.
Two real estate sources contacted by GeekWire were surprised that Expedia would move its headquarters to the facility. One noted that Expedia, which employs about 3,000 people in the region and 15,000 worldwide, was looking to own its campus rather than lease. The PSBJ reported that Amgen is still winding down operations in the Puget Sound region and is considering a sale of the campus.
Another source said that the online travel giant had been looking at options to stay in downtown Bellevue. He also indicated that the tenant improvements would be expensive for a non-biotechnology company, given the heavy investment already placed in laboratory equipment in the Amgen buildings.
Follow up: Lessons for Expedia: What it’s like to move an entire company to Seattle from the Eastside
The commute for Expedia’s Eastside employees to the Amgen facility also will prove challenging, since the campus sits on the far western side of Seattle with no easy transportations routes from East to West.
However, Expedia could be looking to lure tech talent with the move, following in the path of companies such as Amazon.com, Tableau, Facebook, Twitter and others which have chosen Seattle for their operations.
The move is a big blow to Bellevue, where Expedia had been based for a number of years. The company leases 503,000 square feet of space there, with those leases set to expire in October 2018.
Expedia moved into Tower 333 in downtown Bellevue in 2007, vacating the Sunset North Campus along Interstate 90, saying at the time it was convenient for employees. The company’s nameplate is attached to the main headquarters in downtown Bellevue.