Amazon staffs up in Bellevue. Seattle mayor calls it 'great news'
GeekWire reports that the tech giant is moving thousands of employees from Seattle just across the lake to Bellevue.
Reporter Monica Nickelsburg said that GeekWire has tracked this trend, but the scale of the move still surprised her. “We have been noticing a little bit of a cooling in Seattle as Amazon is scooping up a lot of office space in Bellevue,” Nickelsburg said.
The worldwide operations team is making the move. They are the team responsible for getting packages to your door. They will be moving into three buildings – and possibly a fourth – clustered in downtown Bellevue, and close to transit. So why move to Bellevue?
“Bellevue does have a reputation for being a little bit more business friendly than Seattle,” Nickelsburg said. “Things have gotten a little ugly in Amazon's hometown, you know, it really reached a boiling point last year over the head tax.”
(The Seattle City Council wanted to tax big businesses like Amazon on a per employee basis, which is how it got to be known as the head tax.)
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told KUOW's The Record on Wednesday that this is "great news for the region."
Durkan continued: "The more jobs we have in the region and the more it’s diversified, the better it is for all of us. We’ve got a housing affordability crisis, not just in Seattle but everywhere.
"Talent begets talent, and so I think that it is a good thing for Seattle, a good thing for Bellevue. I’m glad light rail’s going to be open because all of those people are going to be wanting to come to Seattle to go to good restaurants.”
Nickelsburg said something similar: “Bellevue allows Amazon to keep tapping that talent pool in the Puget Sound region without quite as much friction. And then there's also this opportunity to recruit new employees from the Eastside who may not want to commute all the way out to Seattle.”
This doesn’t mean that Amazon is slowing growth in Seattle, however.
“Amazon still has 10,000 job openings in Seattle and doesn't plan to change that,” Nickelsburg said. “This could signal that Amazon is just making room for new hires at its Seattle campus by shifting over a team to Bellevue.”