Amazon has purchased additional 2 million sq. ft. in office space in downtown Bellevue and given the city a $1 million grant to support families and COVID-19 relief, it announced Friday, Sept. 4.
The additional 10,000 jobs, on top of the 15,000 previously planned for the city, means it now rivals the employment plans of Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. Amazon will be leasing Vulcan Properties’ 42-story 555 Tower and 16-to-17-story West Main building (located at the former Bellevue Plaza Shopping Center) to house the additional positions. The development is also expected to include public parks, over 50,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and walking distance from the future Sound Transit link downtown Bellevue station.
Vulcan, which previously developed Amazon’s South Lake Union buildings, states part of the project will also connect to Bellevue’s Grand Connection pedestrian corridor and house public amenities like green space, a two story retail pavilion along the walkway and easy access to Old Bellevue Main Street shops and restaurants.
“We are very excited to be working with Amazon again,” stated Ada Healey, chief real estate officer for Vulcan. “And we are thrilled to be kicking off our first development projects in the Bellevue CBD. It is projects like these that will help stimulate business in Bellevue and help create jobs and opportunity – from construction jobs to new roles in hospitality and local retail in the years to come.”
Amazon also continues construction of its 27-story office tower, which will add greenspace and retail amenities as well.
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Fain said in 2019 that the general reception of Amazon’s major move to Bellevue was positive, as it feeds more dollars to local construction and service industries, with a city hall that supports the company.
“That’s the exciting thing about Bellevue in recent years. It’s come alive, not just in the office towers, but on the streets, in the parks and in our community life, and Amazon fuels that as much as it fuels the economy,” Fain said.
The city is also looking forward to a $1 million grant towards it’s Human Services Fund, announced Friday, that supports local families in need and will be distributed across the Eastside.
“Amazon’s continued investment in Bellevue, including today’s announcement of adding 10,000 well-paying jobs as well as a $1 million grant to the Humans Services Fund, is a major win for our community and region,” Mayor Lynne Robinson stated. “I want to thank the company for their generous support of critical services during this time of economic recovery. The city looks forward to expanding our partnership with Amazon and creating new opportunities for all Bellevue residents.”
In a fireside chat with the Chamber late July, Robinson said the city was better positioned than some of it’s neighbors to financially recover quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to it’s business-friendly stance and headquartering many global tech companies.
Amazon announced in 2019 it would move worldwide operations team from Seattle to Bellevue, where Jeff Bezos got his start out of a garage. In the Friday announcement, Amazon’s John Schoettler called Bellevue “a growing, business-friendly community with great amenities, a high quality of life and a fantastic talent pool” and that more jobs in Bellevue contributes to the company’s regional growth strategy for the Puget Sound.
Greater Seattle Partner’s CEO Brian McGowan states in the Amazon press release that this latest investment signals that the region is open and ready for business.
“The Puget Sound Region has been Amazon’s headquarters for more than two decades and we’re thrilled that they are continuing to invest and create jobs in the region,” McGowan stated.