BELLEVUE, Wash. — REI Co-op is looking to sell its newly completed corporate campus in Bellevue's Spring District.
REI announced Wednesday it will "lean into remote working" for employees, with smaller headquarters spread across Puget Sound.
“The dramatic events of 2020 have challenged us to reexamine and rethink every aspect of our business and many of the assumptions of the past. That includes where and how we work,” said REI President and CEO Eric Artz in a video call with employees. “As a result, our new experience of “headquarters” will be very different than the one we imagined more than four years ago.”
REI transitioned most of its headquarters staff to remote work in early March.
The outdoor retail giant announced its plans for a new headquarters in 2016. Construction began in 2018 for a mid-summer 2020 transition from its headquarters in Kent.
The sale will have financial benefits, according to REI, enabling "important investments in customer innovations, REI's network of nonprofit partners, and the co-op's carbon goals."
“I am confident that the sale of the Spring District campus would have a positive impact on REI’s future—and yours,” Artz told employees. “This year has shown us our home is not a building. Our home is wherever we find ourselves doing our best work, pursuing our outdoor passions, serving our communities. Serving each other. That is what we will build around as we move forward—and as we accelerate into what’s next.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan addressed the impact of coronavirus on Puget Sound businesses, including REI.
“It is going to be really difficult for our downtown core to recover if we don't have the workers coming back to our downtown core," Durkan said. "And so every time I see one of these companies adjusting and right-sizing, I know that it affects our economy.”