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

Expedia just cleared an important permitting milestone with the city of Seattle as it prepares to move the majority of its workforce to its Seattle waterfront campus in 2019.

Expedia got the OK from the city for a Major Phased Development permit, which entitles the land for 15 years and allows development of up to 1.9 million square feet of office, giving the travel giant a longer period of time than normal permits would allow to decide how to build out its Seattle campus.

In 2015, Expedia announced plans to re-locate its headquarters from Bellevue to Seattle, paying biotech giant Amgen $229 million for its prized waterfront campus on Elliott Bay. The company is trading in a vertical headquarters for a campus closer to the feel of a Google or Apple HQ that happens to be just minutes from downtown. Expedia will renovate the old Amgen lab buildings and build a couple new structures to accommodate its growing workforce.

Originally, Expedia’s initial buildout plan included redeveloping four lab buildings on the former Amgen site 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 in 2019. But the company on a quarterly earnings call last year said it planned to scale back what it wants to have in place when the move occurs.

The scaled back plan still includes redeveloping the existing lab buildings by 2019 but holding off on the new structure for now. Expedia has said it is focused on building out the space it needs for the 2019 move and will re-examine future needs later. An Expedia spokeswoman on Wednesday told GeekWire that final construction plans are still coming together but the campus will be a mix of existing and new buildings.

The phased permit includes plans for future phases that could eventually expand the campus to 1.9 million square feet and accommodate up to approximately 8,000 employees.

With the change in plans, Expedia said it is still working through the new design. But it did give out an updated list of the firms working on the project; they are: ZGF, architect; GLY Construction, general contractor; Surfacedesign Inc., landscape architect; Unico Properties, building management; Seneca Group, development manager; and Paladino and Co., sustainability consultant.

Though Expedia is moving the bulk of its workforce to Seattle, it isn’t leaving its hometown of Bellevue, Wash., entirely. In March the company confirmed plans to extend a lease at a building called Skyline Tower in Bellevue to hold onto three floors of office space totaling 55,000 until at least 2022 with room for about 500 employees. Instead of a fixed office for certain teams or employees, the space will be available for employees to book for a certain amount of days per month.

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