Headquartered in Bellevue and founded in 1996, Expedia is one of the most widely used travel booking companies in the world. With revenue over 11-billion-dollars in 2018, Expedia is a powerhouse in the online travel world. While the Seattle-area is famous for our other industry-leading companies like Microsoft, Nordstrom, Costco, Boeing, Starbucks, and many more, I feel that Expedia is often overlooked.
The grass is greener...and the water is saltier
Finally executing a plan that has been in the works for years, Expedia has started to move its headquarters from downtown Bellevue across Lake Washington to the Interbay neighborhood. Interbay is a lesser-known area when compared to many Seattle neighborhoods, it is located between Queen Anne and Magnolia. This is not a small move my any means given the ~3,000+ employees at the HQ currently, and a plan to add a few thousand more. The cost of building the new HQ has been stated to be around 900-million-dollars. This will be a big change of scenery moving from a downtown Bellevue tower to a 40-acre waterfront property.
A Google Earth image of where the new campus currently is (blue) and where the campus expansion is happening (yellow).
*image from geekwire.com
Illustration of what the design plan for the entire campus will look like.
If you know anyone who worked at Expedia HQ Bellevue, it is highly unlikely that they lived in the Interbay, Queen Anne, or Magnolia neighborhoods and commuted to Bellevue. Relatively speaking, very few people commute to the Eastside from that west part of Seattle; this is largely due to the fact that the commute between Bellevue and Interbay is very long. At 8 AM to get from downtown Bellevue to Interbay, you can comfortably assume over 75-minutes via i90 and 55-minutes via 520 (this will certainly go up since 520 is now being restricted for construction) or vis vera.
This leads me to my next point about what the relocation of the HQ will do to the surrounding area's real estate...
The impact Expedia will have on real estate...
Many people move for a job or move with a company. My opinion is that a large portion of Expedia employees who are living on the Bellevue side of Lake Washington will quickly be reconsidering their commute or reconsider their employment with Expedia. With a commute of an hour, a large portion of renters will likely finish out their leases and move much closer to the new HQ. I expect Ballard, Magnolia, West Queen Anne, and Belltown to experience the largest impact on housing. This will likely translate to rents increasing over the next one-three years as employees make the move and/or new employees chose to rent close by. This could translate to a good area to consider purchasing a rental property as rents will likely continue to go up at a more rapid pace when compared to other parts of town. Those employees who own their home will be fairly comfortable making the location change from Bellevue to Magnolia as prices are fairly similar. The average single-family home price in Bellevue floats around $1,150,000 and Magnolia about $1,100,000. With area rents increasing at a more rapid pace and interest rates at nearly a 30-year low, I imagine those renting will consider buying as well (#callme). This will make for a good long-term investment since the area is poised to appreciate as an influx of new residents will increase the demand for housing. More affordable neighborhoods should see ripple effects like Ballard and Greenwood, resulting in higher rents and appreciating housing prices.
Rending of part of the new Expedia campus