Amazon’s Bezos: Suburban HQ ‘would have been the wrong decision’

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Amazon’s new campus in Seattle’s Denny Triangle will include 3 towers and a biodome.

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.

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Jeff Bezos (GeekWire file photo)

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.

  • Joe McGrath

    Translation; we want single people who will work around the clock. Families be damned.
    Not that I disagree with that approach, just find it amusing how he danced around it.

    • Matt Lubetich

      HKG, NYC…cities w/families. Campus in suburbia can be very stale, insular, too serviced.

      • Joe McGrath

        you pointed out the two cities that literally have no houses. Is silicon valley to stale and insular? Because it is all suburbia, and far, far more stale then anything in King County.

    • cmorss

      All kinds of people, those with families included, live in Ballard, Fremont, Magnolia, Greenwood, Queen Anne and the like. All a short bus ride to downtown. Seems that there may be nothing to read onto his comment.

    • http://travisestell.com/ Travis

      An urban campus offers a better life-work balance since employees can choose to either live nearby and walk/bike to work, or take transit and have the ability to be productive en route, rather than be stuck behind the wheel of a car during a commute to a suburban office park.

  • boop

    Amen to that Brother Jeff!

  • guest

    Salesforce and Evernote too: If you want work-life balance, work somewhere else

    http://www.geekwire.com/2013/marc-benioffs-advice-startup-founders-underestimate/