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REI's Seattle flagship store. (Photo via
REI’s Seattle flagship store. (Photo via

Bellevue’s business and technology scene continues to grow, with REI today announcing plans to relocate its headquarters to the city.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that the outdoor retailer signed a non-binding letter of intent to move from Kent, Wash., to eight acres of land in Bellevue’s new Spring District by 2020.

REI Co-op Logo“We are confident in the process, but we do not have a formal deal,” the company said in a statement. “The non-binding letter of intent allows both parties to pull out at any time, with no penalties. By the end of the summer, we will know either that we’re moving forward or that our search continues.”

The yet-to-open Spring District is surrounded by parks and wilderness, and a new light rail station nearby is set to open in 2023. REI, which has housed its HQ in Kent since 1988, plans to “embed the outdoors into our campus” with green space throughout, open-air meeting locations, and more.

“With our new campus, we’re looking to create a hub for employees to come together to dream and scheme about life outdoors,” REI said in a statement. “The Spring District gives us the opportunity to create a unique space for the co-op, where our employees can gather and share our love for the outdoors. We envision an accessible, energizing space that is within reach of some great local outdoor spaces.”

Wright Runstad & Company, which is developing the area, said it was “thrilled” to enter into an arrangement with REI, which would take about 20 percent of the Spring District.

“Wright Runstad and Shorenstein Properties have planned The Spring District from the beginning to embrace sustainability, walkability and regional transit and trail connections; all key values that we share with REI,” Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad & Company, said in a statement.

Along with other offices and residential projects, The Spring District will also be home to the Global Innovation Exchange, a new technology and entrepreneurship graduate school developed via a groundbreaking partnership between the University of Washington and China’s Tsinghua University.

Bellevue itself continues to grow as a hub for business and technology. It is home to tech giants like Expedia, Concur, and T-Mobile, and also to more than 1,000 up-and-coming startups.

REI, which has its flagship store in Seattle and satellite offices in Bellevue and Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, saw 9.3 percent growth in revenue in 2015, while digital sales grew by almost 23 percent.

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