Over the last two years, Amazon has established a Bellevue real estate portfolio exceeding 1 million square feet, which can accommodate several thousand employees.
On Wednesday, employees of the company's huge operational organization, responsible for delivering orders to Seattle customers, learned that their jobs would be transferred over the next four years to the city on Lake Washington.
"Our vision is to create an urban campus in downtown Bellevue, where employees will be within walking distance and have easy access to public transit," said Dave Clark, Senior Vice President of Global Operations for the City of Bellevue. Amazon, in an email addressed to employees.
A whirlwind of factors is driving Amazon's expansion in Bellevue. Many tech companies, including Amazon's leading talent competitors, have or are developing large offices on both sides of the lake to attract workers who prefer not to move.
Amazon's strained relations with the Seattle City Hall are also at the rendezvous, the 2018 head tax fight continues to be felt and the uncertainty of the elections City Council will be widely open later this year. But a company source said that part of the motivation was to free up space in Seattle for new employees.
In a statement, Amazon praised Bellevue, where Jeff Bezos founded the company in 1994, for its convenience, quality of life, talent pool, and "business-friendly environment." The Bellevue executives applauded the news.
At the same time, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan described Amazon's Bellevue growth as a net positive result for the region.
"The more jobs we have in the region and the more diverse it is, the better for all of us," Durkan told KUOW on Wednesday. "We have an affordable housing crisis, not just in Seattle, but everywhere."
Amazon's relocation to Bellevue will be phased in this month with Amazon's Global Delivery Services organization – part of the large organization of operations with fewer than 1,000 employees, which would reach approximately 700 Amazon workers already in Bellevue. Clark said other movements would occur early in 2021, with the teams being informed about a year in advance. The entire move (several thousand jobs, including future recruitment operations) is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
"This will give people as much time as possible to plan these changes while also allowing us to complete construction and build our new space," Clark said in the email, reported Wednesday by GeekWire.
With the addition of jobs at Amazon and the departure of other companies in the sector, downtown Bellevue will record a gain of about 2,500 new jobs, said Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak.
Amazon has leased space in three office buildings in downtown Bellevue, all distant one from the other, starting in late 2016, with Center 425 at the corner of Northeast Fourth Street and 106.th Northeast Avenue, accommodating more than 2,200 people. Last summer he signed a lease for the former head office of Expedia at 333 108th Ave. N.E., is expected to begin in 2020. Expedia will move from Bellevue to Seattle and plans to open this fall for 4,500 employees.
"When Expedia started going to Seattle, some residents of Bellevue were quite disappointed, but the fact that Amazon is moving to occupy this space is an important lesson about how the region works," Chelminiak said. "The most important thing is to develop these businesses in the region. It does not matter whether it's Seattle, Bellevue or Kirkland. The important thing is that jobs are kept here. "
The last lease of Amazon is the Summit III project, a 17-storey office building at 320 108th Ave. N.E., this is allowed but not yet under construction, according to several real estate sources, Kidder Matthews' latest quarterly report on the market. Developer Hines Global REIT declined to comment on the project.
Amazon is also renting out space at WeWork in the neighboring Summit II building, according to an Amazon source.
The projects are all within a few blocks of Belle Transit's Bellevue Downtown Link light rail station, scheduled to open in 2023. The Bellevue-Westlake train journey time will be approximately 24 minutes. Chelminiak said it was "quite sensible in the world" to have growth along the transit corridors.
In 2016, the company launched a bus service, called Amazon Ride, to help Eastside employees get to Seattle.
Although she is growing up in Bellevue, Amazon continues to add to her huge base of real estate and jobs in Seattle. The company owns approximately 10 million square feet of space in the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods in Seattle, and an additional 2 million square feet are under construction.
It has more than 45,000 employees in Seattle and nearly 11,000 openings – both new jobs and attrition-based jobs – in Seattle. (The company has nearly 500 openings in Bellevue.)
That said, the company has relinquished another major office in Seattle, sub-leasing premises in the Rainier Square tower under construction, which it had threatened to abandon if Seattle imposed a business tax to finance housing and housing. homelessness services.
Some observers have speculated that Bellevue could be the site of the 25,000 Amazon jobs planned as part of the company's expansion in New York. But Amazon's top real estate manager said in an interview last month that the Bellevue expansion was not the result of the withdrawal from New York, but rather a separate plan in preparation for the decisions of the head office. the company "HQ2".
Chelminiak said that along with the growth of Amazon, the city wanted to see some of these new jobs in Bellevue.
Amazon's Eastside growth follows a long-established pattern for Seattle area technology employers. Google and Facebook – two of Amazon's top competitors – have offices in Seattle and the Eastside and are hiring quickly in the region.
In 2007, as Microsoft redeveloped its Redmond campus, Microsoft opened an office in South Lake Union, as part of a Seattle workers' factory, but closed it approximately 10 years later, after the transfer of Westlake Terry building at Amazon. The company still has a small group of employees working in a WeWork space in Seattle.