JASON RANTZ

Bellevue official: One reason why Amazon is crossing Lake Washington

Mar 5, 2019, 5:54 AM | Updated: 7:38 am

Seattle’s relationship with Amazon can be touchy at times. But that appears to benefit the city’s neighbor across Lake Washington — Bellevue.

If a trend continues, Amazon could become the largest employer in the City of Bellevue. Bellevue City Councilmember Jared Nieuwenhuis joined The Jason Rantz Show to discuss a massive shift of jobs from Seattle, over Lake Washington, and into Bellevue — and why it’s occurring.

“It starts with a city that’s very well run. I think we’re a global hub for technology and innovation,” he said. “Additionally, as a city and a city council we’re business friendly. That might be a little bit different than what Amazon is used to.”

Recently, Amazon pulled out of a prominent downtown Seattle office project — about 10 months after the company threatened to do so if Seattle imposed a new business tax. Amazon has also reportedly put down non-refundable money on the 10-story Bellevue Corporate Plaza property on 108th Avenue North.

RELATED: Amazon thought to be on verge of buying Bellevue property

“Quick, side story: Myself and a couple of colleagues — like Councilmember Jennifer Robertson — met a couple of folks from Amazon at a business dinner recently, and we actually went up to them and said, ‘We’re glad that you’re in Bellevue, welcome. Let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.’ And they looked us like we were from Mars,” Nieuwenhuis said.

This isn’t Amazon’s first foray into Bellevue. Amazon employs approximately 2,000 people in Bellevue, and recently leased Expedia’s former headquarters, with plans to have around 4,500 total employees in the area by 2020.

“We’re always looking to attract and retain companies in Bellevue,” Nieuwenhuis said. “We already have 45 corporate headquarters here and 70-plus Fortune 500 companies, so Bellevue is just a thriving business community.”

RELATED: The Seattle Council has never been more dangerous than now

While there is a mix of Democrats and Republicans on the Bellevue City Council, Nieuwenhuis says they don’t lead with ideology. Instead, they focus on what’s best for Bellevue.

“There’s going to be some growing pains whenever you’re growing, but we’re very much ahead of the curve in terms of being in a better position to mitigate the impact to our community,” he said.

“We really believe that a thriving business and great neighborhoods are not mutually exclusive — we can have both.”

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Bellevue official: One reason why Amazon is crossing Lake Washington