Amazon moves workers to Bellevue despite stalled expansion
Last year, Seattle’s biggest tech giant paused construction of its new office space in Bellevue, raising alarms for the local commercial real estate market. Since then, construction has not resumed, but Amazon has begun the process of moving employees to the Eastside anyway.
One of Amazon’s new spaces, 555 Tower, has been completed enough for employees to move in. The first 19 of the 42 floors are done. Work on the interiors of the remaining floors remains paused for the time being. The 555 Tower is taller than any existing building in Bellevue at a height of 600 feet. The office also includes a public plaza and ground floor retail pavilion. In total, around 1,000 employees have been moved into this building, about half of the planned 2,000 in total.
Another 1,000 Amazon Web Services employees are slated to move into downtown Bellevue’s West Main Tower 1 before the end of the year.
As these employee transitions have taken place, Amazon has also covered a hole that was intended for a future office tower at its Bellevue 600 location. This property is 3.5 acres, encompassing two future towers. It is estimated that the first tower will be completed in 2024, while the second tower is the one that has been paused. It’s planned as a 31-story tower and a 6-floor parking garage. At the moment, Amazon says it has not abandoned the project, and covering the hole is simply a security measure.
At the end of 2022, Amazon had 10,000 employees in Bellevue, making it the city’s largest employer. The company still plans to bring a total of 25,000 employees to Bellevue, albeit maybe at a slightly slower rate than previously expected.
Amazon’s mandated return to office has had a positive impact on other businesses in the area, driving foot traffic and encouraging other employers to bring workers back as well.