By Bloomberg · Matt Day
Amazon has been expanding in Bellevue, just east of hometown Seattle, since 2017, and announced the scale of its plans for the city of 145,000 people in a blog post on Thursday. Amazon's corporate neighbors there include the headquarters of T-Mobile U.S., and satellite offices of Microsoft. Amazon has about 2,000 workers in Bellevue today, including some teams in Senior Vice President Dave Clark's operations and logistics organization.
Amazon, which has more than 50,000 employees at its Seattle headquarters, decided in 2018 to split a second HQ between New York and Arlington, Virginia, following a closely watched search. Bloomberg reported this week that the public bakeoff for what Amazon called HQ2 was motivated in part by a desire to encourage big government incentives of the sort Tesla landed for its Gigafactory in Nevada. But Amazon abandoned plans for New York amid opposition from local politicians and said it would put the 25,000 workers initially planned for that campus at its roughly two-dozen corporate offices across North America.
Amazon's relationship with its hometown has become strained in recent years, with critics holding the company partly responsible for rising costs, snarled traffic and homelessness. Tension turned into a public clash in 2018 when the Seattle City Council passed a tax on big employers to fund homelessness services. Amazon threatened to abandon two expansion projects in the city if the tax went through, and, even after it was repealed, pulled the plug on one. The company's blog post Thursday called Bellevue a business-friendly city.
Amazon this week joined large companies based in the Seattle area in voicing support for a proposed tax on large employers based in King County, which contains both Seattle and Bellevue, to fund affordable housing and homelessness services.