Corporate camping: Check out REI’s crazy Washington headquarters

The Bellevue HQ was designed to get employees outside

A rendering of the new REI headquarters in Seattle (Credit: NBBJ)
A rendering of the new REI headquarters in Seattle (Credit: NBBJ)

Consumer outdoor equipment retailer Recreational Equipment Inc., or REI, is building a headquarters outside Seattle befitting its outdoorsy business.

The 380,000-square-foot main office building features outdoor staircases and bridges, oversized sliding doors to let in air, and is built around two courtyard full of plants native to the region, according to the Wall Street Journal. Architecture firm NBBJ designed the building, which is orientated to maximize sunlight through its mostly glass façade.

“You can’t really be in the building anywhere without having a visual connection to the outdoors,” said firm partner Mindy Levine-Archer.

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Work started in 2018 and REI expects it to be completed by May. The company currently has four offices across the Seattle area and plans to consolidate with its new headquarters in Bellevue. It’s located in the 36-acre Spring District, a transit-oriented development in the city, on the site of a former agricultural community, according to the Journal.

The company also wants to build an indoor marketplace open to the public on the eight-acre headquarter site. REI’s Nikki Easterday said that the complex is designed with outdoor space for employees to camp and test out new branded gear.

REI has 162 stores across 39 states and plans to open its first outpost in South Florida this fall. [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 

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