REI moving to Bellevue

REI's Bellevue headquarters design proposal

REI’s Bellevue proposed headquarters design.  Photo: NBBJ

REI will be moving their headquarters from Kent, where they’ve been for 29 years, to a new site in Bellevue in the year 2020. They have submitted a design proposal for an 8-acre campus to the City of Bellevue, which would occupy 20% of the new Spring Hill district development. 36-acre Spring Hill, which will be located between the Bel-Red Road corridor and 520, east of downtown Bellevue, will have an alternative tech college (The Global Innovation Exchange), 300 apartments (which are already under construction), a brewpub, and a blend of street retail and other businesses in the process of being decided.

Springhill District proposed orientation.  Photo:

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) sells specialized outdoor gear, is the nation’s largest consumer co-op, sponsors land & nature conservation causes, and also leads adventure classes and tours in the great outdoors. In keeping with this, REI works to meet green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint in the world with their stores, distribution centers, and in this case, their actual headquarters. So the three new buildings (400,000 square feet total) will incorporate sustainable elements according to LEED energy and environmental guidelines set up for highly-effective green buildings. Salmon Safe criteria will also be considered to protect local watersheds. Some features will include outdoor meeting and community spaces, edible plants and native vegetation on the grounds, planning for optimal sunlight through windows, and other energy efficiency details.

REI's flagship store in downtown Seattle. Photo: Joe Mabel/WikiCommons

REI’s downtown Seattle flagship store, including indoor climbing rock on left.  Photo: Joe Mabel/WikiCommons

In a September 2016 memo, REI stated they had outgrown their current Kent headquarters and satellite offices, with over 1,400 employees. Some of the advantages cited for moving to Bellevue included access to a new Sound Transit light rail system that will be built right at Spring Hill in 2023. Also access to nearby nature and bikeways was an attractive idea, especially the multi-use, non-motorized Eastside Rail Corridor that will connect Renton to Woodinville, and other options being considered. Some pedestrian pathways will cut through the REI campus, which people in the surrounding community can use. It’s hoped that these considerations will be attractive to an increasingly mobile workforce.

REI"s Blue Oak Net Zero facility in Arizona. Photo: Business Wire

REI”s Net Zero Blue Oak Energy facility in Arizona.  Photo: Business Wire

Constructing highly efficient buildings is nothing new to REI. According to Business Wire, they recently achieved “Net Zero” status for their new distribution center in Arizona. This means that the solar panels installed produce 100% of their electricity per year, conserving energy. Which indicates good things to come for their future Bellevue headquarters.

Find Your New Best Fur-iend This Weekend!

If you’re in the market for a new 4-legged friend, this weekend is the purr-fect time to find one!

The Seattle Humane Society is hosting their annual Adoption Blitz this weekend, October 15th and 16th, and there is no better time to welcome a furry new addition to your family!

This event happens only once a year and it’s your opportunity to meet your new pet, with all fees waived! All pets come spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and health checked, ready to join your family. If a pup-pal is what you’re looking for, all dogs are tested for their temperament and a rebate for behavioral courses is included with the adoption of most dogs.seattle-humane

Seattle Humane Society knows that adding a pet in to you family is a big deal and they are committed to making sure your family and your new pet are a good match by carefully vetting you prior to adoption as well.

This event is fun for both potential adopters and shelter staff and is always busy! If you’re interested in adopting, the Seattle Humane website is a great resource to use prior to the event itself. On the site, you can view available pets’ profiles before you meet them in-the-fur!

This event happens but once a year event, and is made possible by the generous black-cat-ad-dogscommunity members who donate money, food and supplies to help keep Seattle Humane alive and thriving. This is a great opportunity for adoptive families to save the money that would have been spent on adoption fees and use it instead to get the supplies needed to care for your pet, like food and water dishes, leashes, collars, beds and, of course, toys!


This weekend is a great opportunity for pet lovers all over the greater Seattle area. In addition to the Adoption Blitz, there are three more pet-centric events happening this weekend.


dogfestDogFest is a pup-a-polooza of sorts, celebrating pooches and their people at this fun, free event. Held at Marymoor Park, this event includes a 2-mile or half-mile walk, costume contest, fun games (musical chairs with dogs, anyone?), food (and dog treats, of course!), live music and dog training demonstrations.

Donations are welcome for this event and go to benefit the Canine Companions organization, a wonderful charity that provides trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities, free of charge.


If you’re interested in a little Cat-itude, head to Maple Valley for CAToberfest! There you’ll catoberestfind a silent auction, raffles,and cat themed gifts and activities. This feline-festival is hosted by South County Cats, a non-profit that offers affordable spay/neuter services, T-N-R (Trap-Neuter-Release)  services, fostering and adoption services, and seeks to reduce the euthanasia rates among cats in animal shelters.

This annual event is free, (though donations of food or cash are gladly accepted) and so much fun, they have expanded to a larger venue this year! CAToberfest is a great way to learn more about this amazing organization, contribute to it, grab kitty-swag for your own cats and celebrate the fabulousness of felines.


If you prefer your pets with scales, no legs, or more than 4 legs, head down to the Seattle Reptile Expo.  Held at the Washington State Fair Grounds in Puyallup, you’ll find plenty of lizards, snakes, amphibians and spiders (as well as tons of vendors related them) at this unique event. Admission is only $10, and kids get in free!

Is your child a fan of these creepy-crawly critters, but you’re not so much? Not to worry! All the animals at this event are bred in captivity, and no unsafe or venomous breeds are allowed, and you can peruse the selection of  related supplies, artwork, gems and minerals, plants that are  available for purchase.

No matter what breed or species of pet you’re interested in owning, or just learning more about, this weekend is an animal lovers dream, and a great time to get into giving to some great organizations!


Seattle Humane Adoption Blitz
Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15-16.
Cost: Free; carriers, leashes, collars required, not included, bring or buy at the shelter.
Location: Seattle Humane, 13212 S.E. Eastgate Way, Bellevue.
More info: 425-641-0080


Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., check-in opens 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 15.
Cost: Free; suggested $125 walk fundraising goal.
Location: Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond.
More info: & pg=entry.


CAToberfest Celebration of Cats
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.
Cost: Free, cat food and cash donations appreciated.
Location: Rock Creek Elementary School, 25700 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road, Maple Valley.


Seattle Reptile Expo
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15-16.
Cost: Admission $10, ages 10 and younger free.
Location: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup.
More info: 425-861-7964 or

Is the snow storm over yet?? Are you Prepared??

They say one storm down and two more to come?  A major snow storm is expected to hit Western Washington, piling 6 to 12 inches according to the National Weather System Monday.  The National Weather System of Seattle said a wave of cold air is moving through Western Washington and could drop several inches of snow in areas along the Washington coast, as well as areas north of Seattle by early Tuesday.  On Wednesday widespread snow fall and below-freezing tempuratures are likely throughout the state and the service issued a winter storm watch from Tuesday night through the day Wednesday.  They are comparing Wednesdays snowstorm to a Decembers 1996 snowstorm when over a foot fell over most of the region.  Snow could change to rain late Wednesday and in some areas early Thursday and although the snow on Wednesday is going to cause a tremendous amount of messy commutes in the morning and evening, it’s not supposed to stick around for very long. 

Is your car prepared for the snow fall??  Here are some tips:

1.  Make sure you have  full tank of gas

2.  Chains for your tires

3.  Bottles of water

4.  Snacks, like Power Bars or granola bars

5.  Blanket

6.  Comfy walking shoes

7.  Gloves

8.  Flashlight

9.  Car charger for your cell phone.



Medina Makes List of Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Hunts Point Waterfront Home

Bloomberg Business Week recently published an article on the most expensive neighborhoods in the nation, and one Bellevue community made the list-Medina.  More specifically, the list pinpoints the most expensive blocks, identifying the area from 84th Avenue to the waterfront at Lake Washington.  These homes have a median value of $1,452,523 and the Lake Washington waterfront homes average a price point of about $3,000,000.  The article features data from Neighborhood Scout Reports website, which regularly reports the data taken from neighborhoods across the U.S.  Bellevue luxury real estate can also be found in nearby communities Yarrow Point and Hunts Point.  Follow the link to search for Bellevue luxury homes for sale.

Possible Tolling on 405

Now that the 520 tolling is set to begin in April, Washington lawmakers are thinking about tolling 405 too, but just the carpool lanes of 405 running from Bellevue to Lynwood like those that are on Highway 167.  The expected start date, if a proposal is accepted, would be in 2014.  The first phase location would be near Kirkland.  After the highway is expanded, the 2 carpool lanes on 405 will be converted to HOT lanes (High Occupancy or Tolling) lanes.  The tolling will make up for “flat gas tax”.  The tolls on 405 are expected to be slightly higher than those on other highways like 167, averaging about $ .74/mile.   The tolling would be electronic using the same “Good to Go” system planned for 520. Although the tolling may seem ridiculous to some, the state expects to see much less traffic congestion as a result.  Decreased driving time is a plus in my book.

I-405 Closure in Early April

April 1st through 4th, sections o 1-405 between N.E. 8th St. and 520 will be closed.  Crews will be working to take down the NE 12th Street Bridge, which will be replaced.  The weekend closure is the largest construction closure of the season.  The closures will begin the 1st at 11 p.m. until the 4th at 4 a.m.   See full closure details by visiting the WDOT website.

New Bellevue Apartments

A new Bellevue apartment complex is nearing completion, and is expected to open this Spring.  The project, titled Soma, is a step in the “green” direction.  The building is by developer John Su and is located on Main Street.  The building will have 80 units ranging in size from studios to two-story townhomes.  The hope is that the systems and construction will allow for energy efficiency and the building will have the first “geo-thermal” well system in the city.  Rental demand is continuing to rise in this rough market, so it’s good to know more options are becoming available. It will be interesting to see the lease rate in comparison to other downtown Bellevue apartments like those in the Bravern Towers, which were recently converted from condominiums.  Soma is extremely close to the downtown core, and if priced right, the development should be fairly successful.  Follow the link to search for other downtown Bellevue rentals.

Kirkland Condo-Available for Rent


Three units were architecturally changed into one two bedroom unit with three baths. Extensive office space, large cooks kitchen, dining and living rooms for entertaining, his and hers baths in the master. Built-in wet-bar, flat screen TV’s, sliding doors to HUGE view of Lake WA, Seattle and moorage! West facing Lakeside stretches the width of the Building.  This rental in available for $3,500.  Find this rental and others by clicking here.

Status: Available
List Price: $3,500
Bed/Bath: 3,4

520 is ‘Good To Go’


The 520 Bridge is almost ready to begin tolling, and the cheapest way to travel over the bridge will be signing up for a Good To Go account.  The Good To Go account comes with a transponder, available for purchase at Safeway stores for $5 dollars.  Transponders are activated by a license plate number and deposit, the use of which is necessary because the lack of toll booths.  The toll will be taken out of the user’s pre-paid account as they cross, and those without a transponder will be fined, thanks to the cameras taking snapshots of license plates.  Good To Go is the state’s most recent electronic tolling system, and WSDOT expects the tolling on 520 will help keep costs to work on the bridge at bay.  Toll amount will vary throughout the day, which was planned to encourage driving during off-peak hours.    Good to go passes are available online, at Safeway stores, or at service centers.  Visit the official website for more information.

Bellevue Burgermaster

Most Seattlites now about Burgermaster, the drive-up eatery with awesome burgers and fries you eat in your car.  Lucky for us, there are five locations in the Greater Seattle Area.  The original is over in the U-District, and the others are in Mill Creek, Everett, on Aurora and the other is across the water in Bellevue, just off of 520.  Burgermasters get more than their fair share of visitors every day, but the weekend is definitely the busiest.  A friend of mine found himself waiting to park for about 15 minutes when he went to the Bellevue location this past Saturday.  I guess you have to be patient to get a burger from a classic, Bellevue joint. If you’re ever in the area and need a bite, check out Burgermaster and get a banana malt…they’re fantastic!