Amazon has become a powerhouse for the Seattle area. With its recent acquisitions, record employment, and now massive office space takeover, it seems there is not much this tech company cannot do.
According to a new analysis by The Seattle Times, "Amazon now occupies a mind-boggling 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, the most for any employer in a major U.S. city." To put that into perspective, they occupy more office space than the next 40 biggest employers in the city combined. Their 8.1 million square feet is expected to rise to more than 12 million within five years.
From computer power, to retailing, to publishing books and producing films, Amazon continues to support itself and its growth. John Schoettler, Amazon's director of real estate, says this "steady continued growth" is all he's experienced in his nearly two decades at the company.
In 2001 when Schoettler told CEO Jeff Bezos they needed a plan, Bezos' only condition was that Amazon would stay and grow in downtown Seattle. As a conscious decision, "by staying in the urban core, Amazon would attract members of the hip creative class." And their plan worked very, very well.
In fact, Amazon now employs about 40,000 employees in Seattle, up from 5,000 in 2010. They are now the largest employer in the city, and they have plans (and the room) to grow up to 55,000 by 2020.
Along with Amazon's growth comes an increase in commuters: people who drive at least 90 minutes each way to work. In the last five years, those commuters have increased by a shocking 72 percent.
Additionally, Windermere Real Estate's own chief economist Matthew Gardner notes Amazon's growth has been "so substantial that it can single-handedly skew the city's core office market." Many other tech companies are working their way into the Seattle market to recruit some of the same engineering talent that has been flooding to Amazon. Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and more are hoping for some of the same success.
Read the full article from The Seattle Times for more on Amazon's retail revitalization, history, and real estate boom.