Designs for a market hall inside the new Expedia campus.
Designs for a market hall inside the new Expedia campus.

Making use of the existing facilities on the old Amgen site in Interbay, Expedia Group on Thursday released new designs for its Seattle campus slated to open in fall 2019.

Expedia is renovating existing lab buildings on the campus, with plans for new construction to come online during a second construction phase and likely a third.

Expedia will move 4,500 employees from Bellevue to its new 40-acre Seattle campus on the Elliott Bay waterfront next fall.

The travel tech company announced in 2015 it was acquiring the old Amgen campus for $229 million, and the City of Seattle cleared Expedia for a Major Phased Development permit in 2017, which entitles the land for 15 years and allows for 1.9 million square feet of office space.

Expedia is targeting LEED silver and Salmon Safe Watershed certification.

“Our design thinking goes beyond capturing what makes travel special, to reflect the data-obsessed learning culture that’s core to how we operate,” said Mark Nagle, Expedia Group’s vice president of global real estate, in a Nov. 29 news release. “We study how our employees and visitors use office spaces around the world to uncover first-rate design choices to meet the needs of our evolving global working habits. Coupling this data with our obsession with user-centricity, we’re creating workspaces that balance our employees’ needs of a warm and inviting campus, with the flexibility to remain nimble, innovative and ready for the future.”

Queen Anne News sat down with Maureen Thon, senior manager of corporate communications at Expedia Group, and Tim Punke with Monument Policy Group in mid-October to talk about the project.

Plans are to create a connection between the indoor and outdoor experiences within the campus, blending in the environment and taking advantage of natural light. There will be 11-foot windows throughout the design, with views of the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, downtown and the Port of Seattle, and the buildings will be connected by skybridges.

Outside plazas will provide natural meeting points, as will play fields and an amphitheater.

Contractor GLY spent the summer completing nonstructural demolition, installation of temporary stormwater erosion controls, grading, foundation work for a new parking garage, exterior cladding removal and underground utilities installation.

Elliott Bay Trail closed from West Galer Street to Centennial Park in July, and is being enhanced by Expedia to include better curves and dedicated lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians. Thon said the half-mile section of trail should be reopened at the same time the travel company opens its new headquarters.

A market hall concept is being developed for employee dining options – the campus will likely also be open to food trucks – and there are also plans to offer workout classes through a wellness center.

Neighborhoods surrounding the Interbay campus are particularly focused on how 4,500 Expedia employees commuting to work will impact traffic in the area, the details of which the travel giant has been working on with Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates.

Expedia is offering free ORCA cards and testing a shuttle concept similar to what Microsoft provides its employees, offering transportation between Redmond and the company's Bellevue headquarters. Plans are to offer four east/west shuttles when the new campus opens, running between Seattle, Redmond and Bellevue, and, yes, they will include Wi-Fi.

Expedia is extremely supportive of Sound Transit's light rail expansion efforts, Thon said, which includes a Ballard line that would have a stop near the company's new headquarters by Smith Cove. But that service won't be an option for Expedia employees until construction is completed, which is tentatively set for 2035.

The travel company is reserving 500 seats in Bellevue for employee flexibility, Thon said. Expedia announced in March 2017 it would extend its lease to keep some space at Skyline Tower until at least 2022.

That enhanced Elliott Bay Trail will also provide commuting opportunities for Expedia employees who wish to bike to the new offices. Punke said the campus will have space to store 400 bikes, as well as 30 showers. There will also be an on-site bike mechanic. Thon said Expedia will also offer employees free bike rentals, which they could use to head down to the waterfront, which is also being enhanced as part of this project and will remain open and accessible to the public.