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Report: Amazon moving entire operations team to Bellevue

The Bellevue skyline. (Kanattie, Flickr Creative Commons)

A Wednesday report from Geekwire confirms rumors that KTTH’s Jason Rantz first broke in February: Amazon is moving thousands of employees to Bellevue.

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An internal email acquired from Geekwire — and employees Rantz spoke to in February — confirmed that the tech giant is planning on moving the entirety of its worldwide operations team to the Eastside by 2023. This will not reportedly affect the other tens of thousands of employees Amazon has in Seattle.

“I’m excited to share the news that we’re planning to migrate worldwide operations to Bellevue starting this year,” said Dave Clark, the senior vice president in charge of the team, in the email shared with his employees Wednesday. “This move gives room to grow while maintaining the campus feel that we’ve come to love around South Lake Union.”

The worldwide operations team at Amazon is responsible for ensuring the delivery of packages to customers, and oversees 250,000 employees worldwide across 173 fulfillment centers. It manages the company’s delivery trucks, as well its fleet of 40 airplanes.

The move will bring “several thousand” employees to the Eastside. According to Rantz’s reporting, that number could get as high 10,000, and a Redfin report in March cited “speculation” that Amazon was looking to lease a space in Bellevue that could hold upwards of 25,000 employees.

Sources tell Geekwire that the roughly 10,000 Amazon job openings in Seattle will remain, theorizing that the move to Bellevue could be to create space in Seattle for new hires.

Employees on that team will begin moving in April. The company already has roughly 2,000 employees in the Bellevue building that previously housed Expedia’s corporate headquarters, and had plans to move another 4,500 workers into that building by 2020.

“It starts with a city that’s very well run. I think we’re a global hub for technology and innovation. 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,” Bellevue City Councilmember Jared Nieuwenhuis cryptically told Rantz in early-March.

Nieuwenhuis released a statement Wednesday following Geekwire’s report.

As I discussed on the The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH three weeks ago, Amazon plans to relocate its entire Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue, Washington by 2023

Yes, there’s going to be some growing pains, but our tremendous city staff has been planning for this growth and thus are ahead of the curve in terms of being in a better position to mitigate the impact to our community and neighborhoods. I firmly believe that a thriving business environment and great neighborhoods are not mutually exclusive — we can have both. Welcome Amazon!

According to the rumors Rantz heard in February, there’s a possibility that interim WeWork office space will be used while Amazon continues to build out the new leases on buildings it’s leasing in Bellevue.

This all comes after Amazon pulled out of its plans to build a 25,000-employee headquarters in New York.

Shortly after that, 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 head tax. Amazon has reportedly put down non-refundable money on the 10-story Bellevue Corporate Plaza property on 108th Avenue North in February.

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