Amazon has confirmed previously-reported plans to open a big new office in downtown Bellevue, Wash.
GeekWire reported last year that the online retail giant had leased all 354,000 square feet of office space at Schnitzer West’s Centre 425 project in Bellevue. Amazon did not comment at the time and continued to stay quiet about the lease until it confirmed today. An Amazon spokesman said Monday that employees will start moving in this summer.
It is unclear why Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, is establishing a presence east of Lake Washington, and the company has yet to comment on the strategy.
Puget Sound Business Journal first reported the lease confirmation.
Amazon accommodated employees on the Eastside by creating a new commuter shuttle pilot program last year with stops in Bellevue, Redmond and Issaquah, and it has since added stops in Bothell, Kirkland and Snoqualmie, to bring people to its Seattle campus. This could be another step in that direction. Or it could be an attempt to pick off talent from Expedia, where many employees are looking at longer commute times once the company moves from Bellevue to the Seattle waterfront in 2019.
Expedia, however, isn’t leaving its hometown entirely. The company confirmed last month that it is keeping a satellite office in Bellevue beyond the 2019 timeline of the headquarters move to Seattle.
Amazon is one of several big tech companies to scoop up sizable chunks of office space in new Bellevue buildings recently. In August, Valve agreed to take nine floors in a new office building in the Lincoln Square expansion, and WeWork is a tenant there as well. In 2015, Salesforce leased a 75,000-square-foot space in the 929 Office Tower in Bellevue, doubling its regional presence and turning the Seattle area into its largest engineering hub outside of its San Francisco headquarters. GeekWire got a chance to tour the Salesforce office in January.
Amazon is also bringing its physical retail footprint to Bellevue. The online retail giant confirmed plans to open its 10th bookstore in Bellevue, likely at the Bellevue Square Mall.
At the same time, Amazon is not slowing its growth in Seattle. Last month the company confirmed plans to lease a 306,000-square-foot building near its new headquarters campus in the Denny Triangle neighborhood. Amazon is also in the process of teeing up the fifth block of the campus with a 17-story, 405,000-square-foot structure.