Amazon’s expansion in Seattle was back in the news this week with the release of new plans for biospheres at the base of one of the buildings in the proposed complex at the northern edge of downtown Seattle. Jeff Bezos didn’t talk about the biospheres during Amazon’s annual meeting this morning — in fact, the drawings he showed didn’t include the spheres — but he did give perhaps his most extensive public comments yet on the company’s real estate plans.
During his presentation, Bezos talked about his belief in the importance of building Amazon’s campus in the city vs. the suburbs.
“What’s really great about an urban campus is that it’s inherently environmentally friendly,” he said, noting that people in an urban area can walk to work and live in apartments and condos nearby. He called it “a very attractive feature for some of our employees.”
Later, a shareholder asked why Amazon had decided to buy its existing complex in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, rather than continuing to lease them. The company has also purchased the land for the new complex closer to downtown, which is connected to its existing buildings via streetcar.
Responding to the question Bezos explained that leasing buildings and “trying to keep a contiguous campus” can be tough when a company gets to “a certain scale.” Amazon wanted to ensure that its employees would be able to continue to easily walk and move easily between buildings without shuttle busses.
The biospheres are a new addition to the proposal for the three-block complex on the northern edge of downtown. Amazon’s architects say they will create an environment where employees can “work and socialize in a more natural, park-like setting,” according to documents released earlier this week.
More from Amazon’s annual meeting