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Is Tacoma Getting an Amazon Office Outpost?

Tacoma, Puget Sound, Amazon, Bellevue, Redmond, Seattle
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

By Vladimir Bosanac

In a move that could transform the second-largest Puget Sound city, Amazon is taking a look at Tacoma to lease as much as 100,000 square feet of office space and plant a flag in the “City of Destiny.” According to two sources, The Registry has learned that the Seattle-based global technology conglomerate may be considering expansion into the industrial city, although this could not be verified by the company at this time. As of the publishing deadline, Amazon did not respond to a request for confirmation and comment.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it was planning to add as many as 3,500 new jobs across six cities and invest more than $1.4 billion in these new offices, which will host teams supporting businesses across the company, according to a company statement. These cites include Dallas, Detroit, Denver, New York, Phoenix and San Diego. This investment includes leasing additional 905,000 square feet of office space across these markets, of which New York is the largest with 630,000 square feet that will be added through Amazon’s acquisition of the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue building.

These are certainly impressive measures that the company is executing, and they will help expand the technical jobs in each of those markets. In this region, too, the impact the company has had on jobs and the commercial real estate market has been equally awe-inspiring over the last few years. Since its decision to take space in Expedia’s former headquarters building in Bellevue in 2018, the company has been steadily taking whatever available space it could find, which according to The Registry reporting adds up to over 2.5 million square feet just in that city alone. In June of this year, the company also announced that it was taking 111,000 square feet at the Redmond Town Center in Redmond, where it hopes to bring 600 additional jobs.

The move to Tacoma, if it materializes, could further its reach across the Puget Sound and in one swoop change the economic trajectory of the city and its neighboring region. The “Amazon effect” is a real thing, and according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, technology jobs that Amazon could bring to Tacoma could have a multiplier effect that would help add additional resources and interest in the city. Assuming a space of roughly 100,000 square feet could add 600 jobs, as it will in Redmond, those additional jobs could translate in as many as 2,500 other, indirect jobs, according Economic Policy Institute’s study. In a city with high unemployment and roughly 200,000 residents, that could be a very good thing.

The city of Tacoma has experienced a higher-than-average unemployment rate since the onslaught of COVID-19. As of April, the city was recording unemployment figures at 19.3 percent. That compares to the overall state of Washington unemployment of 15.8 percent and a national figure of 14.7 percent, according to reporting by homefacts.com.