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Expedia bought the old Amgen campus on the Seattle waterfront with plans to move its headquarters there in 2019. (GeekWire photos)
Expedia bought the old Amgen campus on the Seattle waterfront with plans to move its headquarters there in 2019. (GeekWire photo)

Expedia is scaling back plans for the initial buildout of its huge Seattle waterfront headquarters in advance of its planned move from Bellevue, Wash. in 2019.

Originally, Expedia’s initial buildout plan included redeveloping four lab buildings on the 40-acre former Amgen site on the Seattle waterfront and building a new 600,000-square-foot structure on the campus. That would give Expedia a total of about 1.2 million square feet when it moves its headquarters from Bellevue.

The cost of the initial buildout ranged from $1 billion to $1.2 billion, Expedia CFO Mark Okerstrom said on the company’s second quarter earnings call Thursday.

“Since then we’ve looked more closely at the design with a focus on budget and phasing,” he said. “And we now believe we can have the property ready for use in 2019 for something closer to half the previous estimates.”

The new plan still includes redeveloping the lab buildings by 2019 but holding off on the new structure for now. Expedia has shifted its focus to build out the space it needs for the 2019 move and will re-examine future space needs later.

“Consistent with our test and learn culture, we’re taking a phased approach to our move-in that will allow us to transition our 3,500 employees in Bellevue to the new Seattle campus, with full occupancy by 2019,” Expedia said in a statement. “We’ll update the existing buildings for high-tech office use and add new buildings as additional capacity is needed.”

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Expedia also has eventual plans for “Phase II” and “Phase III” that could expand the campus to 1.9 million square feet. These phases are part of a major phased development permit that Expedia is pursuing from the city, which looks at the campus over a 15-year timeframe. It is unclear how the later phases will be affected by Expedia’s decision to scale back its 2019 plans.

The original Phase I plan would accommodate as many as 4,500 employees, and construction is set to begin later this year for Phase I.

Last year Expedia announced it was re-locating its headquarters from Bellevue to Seattle, paying biotech giant Amgen $229 million for its prized 40-acre waterfront campus on Elliott Bay. The company will go from a vertical headquarters in a Bellevue skyscraper to a campus closer to the feel of a Google or Apple HQ that happens to be just minutes from downtown.

Expedia plans to open a smaller Seattle office this summer as a “Test & Learn” strategy to prepare for the move three years from now.

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