Amazon is planning to move its entire Worldwide Operations team from Seattle to Bellevue by 2023.
According to an email acquired by GeekWire, Amazon is also planning to move thousands of other employees to a new Bellevue Campus. This comes after news that Amazon put down a non-refundable payment on a 10-story Bellevue Corporate Plaza property on North 108th Avenue. “I’m excited to share the news that we’re planning to migrate worldwide operations to Bellevue starting this year,” said Dave Clark, the senior vice president in charge of the team, in an email to his employees. “This move gives room to grow while maintaining the campus feel that we’ve come to love around South Lake Union.”
That email was acquired by GeekWire and was later verified by Amazon itself. Amazon will start moving employees this month and continue until 2023. Worldwide Operations is planning to ramp up hiring in Bellevue within the coming weeks. Currently there are about 700 Amazon employees working in Bellevue and more than 45,000 in Seattle.
Worldwide Operations is one of the most important divisions at Amazon. It’s responsible for getting packages into the hands of customers. It oversees over 175 operating fulfillment centers around the world and manages thousands of delivery trucks, as well as all 40 of Amazon’s airplanes.
Very little has been heard from Amazon, but they recently made a brief statement about the move. “We opened our first office building in Bellevue in 2017. It’s a city with great amenities, a high-quality of life for our employees, and fantastic talent – and it’s recognized for its business-friendly environment. We look forward to continue growing our presence in Bellevue and bring more jobs to the city.” Sources say the move has been planned for about a year, long before the HQ2 drama.
Seattle’s Mayor Jenny Durkan appears to be excited about the move. “It’s great news for the region,” she said in an interview with Seattle radio station KUOW. “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 I think that it is a good thing for Seattle, a good thing for Bellevue.”
However, many city council members are frustrated with the move. Last year Amazon threatened to slow down its growth in Seattle if a tax on big business went through. The tax was dropped by the city council, but this move is still happening. Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosquera said, “We as cities, as public policymakers, from Seattle to New York to Nashville to Arlington, we have a responsibility to act proactively.” She continued, “We cannot be in this reactionary position to constantly respond to whether or not Amazon is going to hold true to its threat or frankly, in our case, stay true to its promise.”
It is unclear if Bellevue will go through the same transformation Seattle did when Amazon established their HQ. However, because many of Amazon’s employees already live in Bellevue, it is unlikely.