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Is Amazon following Jeff Bezos to Miami? Not exactly

By Lauren Rosenblatt, The Seattle Times
Published: November 29, 2023, 7:48am

SEATTLE — Amazon is searching for office space in Miami — but founder Jeff Bezos’ new hometown will occupy only a small portion of the company’s massive corporate footprint.

A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed Tuesday that the company is looking to lease 50,000 square feet of office space in Miami, a process that started before Bezos said he planned to move from Seattle to his childhood hometown to be closer to family and one of the launch sites for his rocket company, Kent, Wash.-headquartered Blue Origin.

The new office would be Amazon’s first direct lease in Miami, the spokesperson said.

Amazon has about 400 employees based in Miami currently, the spokesperson continued. Those employees work from “service offices,” or coworking spaces like WeWork and Regus.

The spokesperson did not comment on whether Amazon intends to increase its head count in Miami. “Right now, the search is for space,” they said.

Compared to Amazon’s other campuses, the company’s Miami presence is still quite small. While it is looking for 50,000 square feet of space in Miami, Amazon occupies more than 15 million square feet of space across two campuses in the Puget Sound region.

The company has 55,000 employees based in Seattle and another 10,000 based in Bellevue, where it hopes to expand its head count to 25,000. Amazon plans to have another 25,000 employees based at its HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia, which opened its first phase in June.

The decision to lease more space comes as the company is increasingly enforcing its return to office requirement. The mandate, which took effect in May and has rolled out slowly across the country as Amazon prepares its offices to welcome workers back at such a large scale, requires employees to work from the office at least three times a week. Amazon has asked some employees to relocate to be closer to certain office hubs as part of the return to office mandate.

When Bezos announced earlier this month he was planning to leave Seattle, nearly 30 years after he founded Amazon in the garage of his Bellevue home, Amazon declined to comment on what the move would mean for the company.

On Tuesday, the Amazon spokesperson said the company was already looking for office space in Miami before Bezos announced his plans to move there. Rather than being connected to Bezos’s move, the search is driven by Amazon’s “organic growth” in the area, the spokesperson said.