Across the lake from Seattle, Bellevue has been growing in business and popularity. Long overlooked by young tech workers who favored the larger, more urban Seattle, Bellevue has lately come into its own, attracting numerous large employers — and thus new employees and residents — into its neighborhoods.
Most of this growth has been driven by Bellevue’s booming tech scene. Amazon eventually plans to have 25,000 employees in downtown Bellevue, while Facebook continues to lease more office space in the Spring District, a few blocks northeast of downtown. Even Gen Z is invested in the area, with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, having recently moved to the area.
With so many tech companies planting their flags in the area, Bellevue has experienced rapid job growth. According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the fastest growing area is the tech sector; in the next 20 years, the number of jobs in Bellevue is expected to grow by 20%. While Microsoft currently holds the title of the city’s largest employer with over 9,000 employees based at its Bellevue hub, it’s likely that Amazon will overtake them within the decade.
According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, about 67% of the city’s residents work in management, tech, business, science and the arts.
But beyond the numerous employment opportunities, the reason Bellevue’s popularity seems to be rising could be in part due to its new urban developments. Areas like the Spring District and East Main offer walkability, local restaurants and entertainment — things that are likely to appeal to young tech workers moving to the area.
Easy commuting options and access to the outdoors are other factors that have drawn new residents to the area. By 2023, five new light rail stations will open as part of the Eastlink Light Rail system, offering convenient public transit around the Eastside and to Seattle, with connections to the airport. Amazon is also backing a 42-mile walking and cycling trail that should be completed in 2024. For tech workers looking for a balanced lifestyle, these amenities could be the tipping point that pulls them to the Eastside over crowded Seattle.
However, among all these benefits, one element is still unaccounted for: the future of remote work at many of the region’s largest employers. Despite the appeal of life on the Eastside, Microsoft and Amazon may not actually place many new workers in the area if work-from-home options remain viable for the foreseeable future.
While there are still some questions about the future of remote work, for now Bellevue can rest easy, knowing its appeal has made it a popular choice for new homebuyers on the Eastside.
This article was originally posted on GeekWire by Mike Lewis.