A sketch of what Amazon’s big new tower in Bellevue, Wash. might look like. (NBBJ Sketch)
Amazon spent most of the last decade gobbling up every available piece of real estate in Seattle, helping power a building boom in the city. But with signs pointing to Amazon cooling on its hometown, a new report lays out how the tech giant’s expansion in nearby Bellevue could galvanize a level of growth over the next couple years that took decades to achieve in the past.
Just two years after opening its first office in Bellevue, Amazon has leased three additional office projects, and it is planning to build a tower — or two —on a high-profile site it bought earlier this year. Combined, those sites could total nearly 2.9 million square feet for Amazon, per the report from real estate firm Broderick Group — and that could be just the beginning.
Broderick Group pointed to three additional properties Amazon has been linked to, bringing its potential footprint in the city to 4.8 million square feet. The report came with a disclaimer that it is just speculating on the additional offices, which total 1.9 million square, and no leases have been signed.
Here is a look at everything Amazon has leased so far in Bellevue, and the properties Broderick Group speculates Amazon could take:
The firm estimates that all this activity could bring upwards of 15,000 or more tech workers to downtown Bellevue over the next few years. And that doesn’t even take into consideration rapid growth from Facebook and others in the city.
Downtown Bellevue has been on the rise for the last few decades, powered by expansion from local and global firms, many of them in the tech industry. But, Broderick Group notes that Amazon’s appetite for space could set off an unprecedented period of growth, with the downtown office market ballooning in size by as much as 40 percent over the next few years.
“Given it took 30 years (1990-2019) for the downtown Bellevue market to develop a total of 5.8M (square feet), Amazon’s expected growth of 4.2M (square feet) in a period of 5 years is staggering,” according to the report. “The result will bring not only significant office growth, but residential developers are also lining up to supply the next wave of Amazon employees with new multi-family housing inventory. The positive impact to the Eastside economy, and to downtown Bellevue in particular, will be nothing short of spectacular.”
Amazon’s real estate expansion in Bellevue kicked off a couple years ago but went into overdrive in 2019. Following a contentious debate over a “head tax” on top employers in Seattle, Amazon confirmed plans to back out of one of its most high-profile buildings and turned its attention to Bellevue.
In April, Amazon said it planned to relocate its entire Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue by 2023. The new tower Amazon is planning atop a future light rail station at 600 Bellevue will be home to many of these employees when the move is done.
Nat Levy is a staff reporter at Geekwire covering a variety of technology topics, including Microsoft, Amazon, tech startups, and the intersection of technology with real estate, courts and government. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @natjlevy.