Amazon is staffing up its big new Bellevue, Wash. office building, which looks ready for the coming deluge of badge-wearing, coffee-toting techies.
Amazon’s jobs site shows 85 open positions in Bellevue, most of them in the new 354,000-square-foot building called Centre 425. Amazon confirmed in April that it leased the entire building, a major expansion across Lake Washington from its Seattle headquarters. Teams that have posted open jobs in the new location include Amazon Devices, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Alexa, and the Lab126 hardware engineering unit.
GeekWire paid a visit to the building Monday. While the ground floor retail is still being built out — into a Bank of America and Starbucks, from what we could see — the lobby and entrance to the building look ready to go. It appears that Amazon has just started moving people in, as the front desk was staffed and a few folks streamed in and out throughout the morning.
Amazon has previously told GeekWire that employees would begin moving in this summer but would not elaborate.
The online retail giant has been headquartered in Seattle for much of its existence, but CEO Jeff Bezos actually started the company out of a garage in what was then his Bellevue rental home. Bezos has repeatedly touted the benefits of staying in the city rather than creating an isolated campus in the suburbs, so it’s not a surprise that the Bellevue office is in the middle of a dense urban area, not tucked away from the rest of the city.
The second floor of the structure features a “great room” that is something of a signature for the building’s developer, Schnitzer West. Equipped with numerous seating areas, fireplaces and a litany of outlets to plug into, the room on this day was pretty much empty. As Amazon fills up the office, it’s easy to see the space becoming a hub of activity for meetings, coffee breaks and more.
Amazon’s digital brain Alexa looks to be focal point of the Bellevue office, as one job posting for software engineers starts with “Amazon Alexa is Now In Bellevue!!!” The company is hiring multiple software engineers and managers to work on a variety of Alexa projects, including smart home integrations and new skills.
Charlie Kindel, director of the Alexa Smart Home team at Amazon, took to social media last week to tout the Bellevue office and its openings.
My team is expanding to Amazon's new Bellevue building (Center 425). Some of the open roles: https://t.co/Wbo9VJMwVo
— Charlie Kindel (@ckindel) August 4, 2017
Mostly SDM/SDE jobs. Focused on both IoT device-side (firmware) and cloud tech. Three 'startup' projects. #day1 #smarthomes
— Charlie Kindel (@ckindel) August 4, 2017
As Alexa proliferates into more Amazon-branded devices, it make sense that the Bellevue office would also have positions for the Amazon Devices team and Lab126, the R&D group that produced the Alexa-powered Echo as well as the Fire Tablet and Fire TV, among other devices.
There are job postings for several other teams and projects, including Amazon Web Services products such as WorkDocs and WorkSpaces, Amazon’s core e-commerce platform, shipping and more. The Bellevue office also looks to be home to some intriguing initiatives under the company’s Identity Services team. Check out this opening for a software development engineer for a “team that will build best-in-class offline experiences for Amazon customers”:
The Customer Geolocation team is ready to disrupt the offline identity space, and is looking for smart, experienced, entrepreneurial Software Engineers to help us grow our offline platform by working with multiple Amazon teams – Fresh, Alexa, Treasure Truck, etc. – building compelling new experiences that take the customer experience into the physical world. We are a greenfield team still researching and exploring emerging geolocation technologies, so if you are interested in getting in on the ground floor of a new project, this is the role for you!
The variety of postings fits what Amazon’s Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities John Schoettler told GeekWire in April: that the Bellevue office will house incremental new hires, rather than full teams coming over from Seattle. At that time, the plan was to hire about 1,000 people for the new office, with the potential to grow in the future.
GeekWire reported on Amazon’s Bellevue office last year, and the company confirmed those plans in April. Some of the company’s job postings in Bellevue appear to be for multiple positions, while others aren’t in the new office, but instead in an Amazon fulfillment centers or its future Bellevue book store.
Amazon’s new presence in Bellevue represents a big win for the city, which was reeling in recent from several un-leased office projects under construction and the impending departure of Expedia to Seattle. Amazon joins a growing list of companies setting up shop both in Seattle and somewhere on the east side of Lake Washington — that includes Google, Tableau Software and others — to access talent around the region as commuting between Seattle and Bellevue becomes increasingly more difficult.
The new Bellevue office, as well as recent Seattle expansions, come as the company continues to grow at an astronomical pace. Last quarter, Amazon brought in another 31,000 employees, raising its total global headcount to 382,400. In the last 12 months Amazon has added 113,500 people worldwide.