Amazon’s announcement earlier this week that it will move thousands of its workers from Seattle to Bellevue has left officials in the Eastside city overjoyed.
“As a community we’ve worked hard to anticipate this type of positive growth downtown, and Amazon is a natural fit,” Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak said in a statement. “It’s also critical that these types of jobs stay in the region. Bellevue values our business community and we look forward to working with the company as their transition progresses. Welcome home, Amazon!”
The tech giant plans to move its Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue by 2023. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the news to KING 5 yesterday and Geekwire broke the news, citing an internal email it had obtained.
“We opened our first office building in Bellevue in 2017,” the unnamed Amazon spokesperson wrote to KING 5 in an email. “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.”
Bellevue City Manager Brad Miyake echoed his mayor’s enthusiasm.
“Bellevue has evolved over the years into a desirable place where companies, from startup to major industry leaders such as Amazon, want to be,” he said. “Our staff approaches the business community as important partners and we’re eager to work with Amazon and its employees to make its announced expansion to the Eastside a success.”
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Joe Fain called the move a “tremendous win” for Bellevue.
“The Bellevue area and the entire Eastside is known for finding that delicate balance between livability, good schools, growing infrastructure, and a stable political climate that is really attractive to new companies both big and small,” he said.
Part of the pushback in Seattle against Amazon has centered around a perception that the company has placed an outsize strain on local infrastructure. Fain acknowledged that the company will have an impact on Bellevue’s infrastructure, but said Amazon and the city can come together to find solutions.
“Of course Bellevue needs to be aware of it, and Bellevue needs to plan for it, but I don’t think companies are looking to win every time they walk into the doors of city hall,” he said. “I think they’re looking to be respected, I think they’re looking to have a dialogue and I think they’re looking to find compromise that allows a win-win for both their company, their employees and the community.”
The news comes months after Amazon announced it had selected Northern Virginia and Long Island, New York, as the locations of its second headquarters, where it would house 50,000 new workers. Amazon canceled its plans to move to New York in February.