In a highly unexpected move, Expedia recently announced that it would be moving out of its office space in downtown Bellevue. The company and its roughly 3,000 employees shall be transitioning to Seattle. Their new offices shall be located in the 40-acre campus on the waterfront of Smith Cove in the Interbay neighborhood, which Expedia bought from Amgen for $228.9 million.
This news is a blow for local businesses, bars and restaurants in particular. Expedia has represented a large employer for the area, who have historically pumped a lot of their lunch money into the downtown eateries. The 3,000 workers who are now leaving the area represent more than six percent of the workforce in downtown Bellevue. So, what kind of impact should aspiring restaurateurs expect to their profitability?
There is a lot to consider before you decide to take your business plans elsewhere. Firstly, the company is not going to vanish for a few years yet. Expedia expects to be completely moved out no sooner than the end of 2018. Meanwhile, commercial real estate in the Seattle and Bellevue area is in high demand. With Google setting up shop in the Emerald City and Amazon expanding their operations every year, it’s not overly optimistic to assume that the current Expedia campus will have a new tenant in short order. Indeed, nearby restaurants and Bellevue real estate developers are hopeful that another large employer will fill the void left behind by Expedia.
“I think it’ll definitely be filled eventually,” said Expedia employee Robert Ochoa. “The short term impact will be felt, but I think it’ll recover.
Lindsey Schwartz of the Schwartz Brothers Restaurants had this to say on the topic: “While we never like to see a great company like Expedia leave the neighborhood, we’re optimistic that the overall growth in Bellevue will continue and we’ll sustain our growth.”
Consult our Bellevue business consulting service to learn more about making your restaurant thrive in downtown Bellevue.