Amazon was founded in the suburbs, but the company is now unusual among tech companies for making its home in the city — with a large campus in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood and a new project under development on multiple blocks just north of downtown Seattle.
At the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained the company’s reasoning.
“We could have built a suburban campus,” Bezos said, noting that a location outside of the city might have saved the company money. “I think it would have been the wrong decision.”
He said the types of people Amazon employs and wants to attract in the future “appreciate the energy and and dynamism of an urban environment,” which means the company is more likely to get the talent it wants with an urban campus.
It’s also better for the city of Seattle and the planet, he said. “I think it’s pretty much indisputable that urban campuses relative to suburban campuses are better because there’s much less commuting and much less fuel burned,” with many people choosing to live near work.
Amazon’s new campus in the Denny Triangle will include three office towers in addition to other structures, including a large biodome. The first phase of the project is already under construction.