Bellevue responds to Amazon move: ‘An amazing opportunity’

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The city of Bellevue welcomes Amazon with open arms as the technological giant moves thousands of jobs across Lake Washington.

GeekWire reported exclusively on Wednesday morning that Amazon will begin moving its global operations team to Bellevue this month, ending the move in 2023.

The movement did not come entirely without prefiguration. Jason Rantz of KTTH reported in February that Amazon could move up to 10,000 employees to Eastside. Redfin reported in March that there was "speculation" that Amazon planned to lease a space in Bellevue that could house more than 25,000 employees.

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The president of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and former Senator from the state of Washington, Joe Fain, told the Dori Monson Show that in the light of what has become a technology center in which Eastside is located, the announcement of Amazon certainly was not unexpected.

"We've seen this kind of significant growth in the Bellevue technology sector for several years, and we've seen companies that have seen what Bellevue has to offer in a lot of items, so it's no wonder I want to do this." , He said. "But it's an exciting opportunity to see a great international company really double its commitment to the city."

"We hope to welcome them to Bellevue and make sure they have a great experience working here," Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak told KIRO Radio.

Eastside real estate tycoon and former Washington state representative Kemper Freeman, owner of the Bellevue Collection, said the news comes at a time when Bellevue is booming more than ever in its history.

"The commercial real estate market in Seattle and Bellevue is at an all-time high, it's never been a better time for things to happen," he said. "That means better jobs and more taxes and better government services, it's just what makes everything work. It is a beautiful thing. "

Although he also hastened to extol Bellevue's appeal, Fain did not criticize Amazon's current home. The president of the chamber does not "look at it as much as a Seattle thing versus Bellevue" and stressed that he wants Bellevue to be "a Seattle partner."

"There are some companies that want to be in an environment that has a stable political culture, that has stable communities, and I think Bellevue has to offer that," he said. "So I do not think it's one thing or the other, but it's showing that Bellevue has a lot to offer."

Freeman does not predict that relocating thousands of Amazon employees outside of Seattle will be very detrimental to Seattle, but finds flaws in Seattle policy.

"If the Seattle political leaders just stop and think, what would they do if they were in Amazon's shoes? Is this the way they want to be treated? I can not imagine they could say yes to that," he said. "So I think bad political ideas are more detrimental to Seattle than what Amazon does or does not do, they have problems to fix one way or another."

But, he said, Seattle's "economy is strong" and it is attracting many new companies, so "it's not like this is the end of Seattle."

Chelminiak noted that some Bellevue companies, such as Expedia, have moved or are moving jobs to Seattle, so the process works both ways.

"It is important that we maintain jobs in the greater Seattle region … I see it as a success for the region, because we are keeping those jobs here in the Puget Sound area," he said.

The Mayor added that the City of Bellevue will work with Amazon every step of the way to ensure that the transition "goes smoothly" and that employees "have a good experience here."

The addition of thousands of new employees will bring more traffic to an increasingly populated Eastside, but city leaders are confident that Bellevue can mitigate any major congestion problems.

"If you have a functioning political organization like our current municipal council … the desire is to take the problem, sit down and find the solution," said Fain, adding, "This should not be considered as". Oh, no, Amazon is coming to the city, the sky is falling. & # 39; Should be seen as & # 39; What a great opportunity. What do we need to do to prepare? & # 39;

Some of these options, according to Fain, include the expansion of transit technologies, shuttles and shared trips.

"There is a lot of work to do to make sure we do all the best things with transportation and everything else so we do not just get more taxes, and all we get is more traffic," Freeman said. "We have many things to solve, I work on that every day and I am convinced that there are many things we can do to soften the blow of traffic."

He said he is working with some of the "best transport engineers in the country" and that he is spending millions to get answers to these questions.

"For reasons that I do not understand, sometimes our government thinks that the idea is to simply get rid of the cars, not build more roads, everyone is going to walk or ride a bicycle … there are solutions, and many of them" cost much less of what we spend and do much more to accommodate traffic, reduce congestion and are good for the environment, "he said.

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