Amazon to Have as Many Workers in Seattle Suburb As Virginia HQ2

Bookmark Inc. is growing again near its hometown, announcing plans to expand to some 25,000 workers in Bellevue, Washington.

The company disclosed in February that it was aiming for 15,000 people in the city, which is located just across Lake Washington from Seattle, Amazon’s headquarters. In a blog post on Friday, Amazon said new leases and office-tower development would increase its projected headcount in Bellevue by 10,000.

The relationship between Amazon and Seattle has become strained in recent years by the city council’s enactment of new taxes on large employers, in part to deal with a homeless crisis exacerbated by a booming local economy. Last month, Amazon polled Seattle-area employees, most of whom are working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, to ask which city in the region they’d prefer to work from, the latest sign of Amazon’s aims to expand outside its home base.

Amazon said on Friday that it had leased 2 million square feet office of space in two buildings, called the 555 Tower and West Main, already being developed by Vulcan Inc. Vulcan, the investment and real estate vehicle of late Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, was the primary developer of the core of Amazon’s corporate campus in Seattle. Amazon is also developing its own buildings in Bellevue, which it expects to complete by 2025.

The company currently has 3,000 employees in Bellevue, and roughly 50,000 in Seattle.

The move will make Amazon’s Bellevue outpost roughly same size as Amazon’s corporate campus development in Northern Virginia. That project, selected after Amazon’s search for a second headquarters, or HQ2, promises 25,000 jobs in Arlington’s National Landing development by 2030.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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