For some time now, there have been various rumors floating around that Bungie, creators of the popular Halo series of games, has been contemplating a move from their current offices in downtown Kirkland to a new location in downtown Bellevue. Those rumors have now officially been confirmed, albeit in somewhat surprising fashion. Instead of the conventional office space that one might expect such a company to reside in, it turns out that Bungie will actually be making their new home at the Bellevue Galleria of all places, in the space which formerly housed an 11-screen cinema that closed down about a year ago. For a company that tends to be somewhat secretive (even when they were under Microsoft, access to their current headquarters in an unmarked former hardware store in Kirkland was unusually restricted,) a space like this within a shopping center seems like a bit of an odd choice, but given the company’s preference for an open plan office, the spacious interior of the former movie theater provides the type of space they would be unlikely to find available anywhere else in Bellevue.
At the same time, this move also serves to fill at least some of the vacancies in the Bellevue Galleria, a moderately sized urban entertainment and shopping complex in the heart of downtown Bellevue which has so far largely failed to live up to its potential in spite of its location. Unlike most of the shopping centers that I have profiled on this Blog so far, I have actually been around here long enough to see the Bellevue Galleria for pretty much its entire history, although for much of that time there hasn’t been a whole lot to see here. With the nice weather on Monday, I did take the opportunity to wander over to the Galleria while I was in Bellevue to take some pictures and put together a brief profile of the complex, which you will find after the jump.