Walking near Amazon's gleaming buildings in Seattle's urban core, some people cheered the company's announcement to find a second home, while others theorized what it could mean for people here.
To the city in which Amazon builds its second headquarters, one lifetime Seattle resident has this word of advice: Move.
“No one can afford to live here,” said Clayton, 30, a cook in Seattle, where about 40,000 Amazonians work across more than 8 million square feet of office space in the city’s urban core. “The transplants — too many. They don’t treat it like home, and it doesn’t have the same feeling.”
Chad Miller, 42, who writes software for the tech giant, had a different take on the company’s blockbuster announcement Thursday morning that it would find a second home in another North American city.
Miller said it is time the company expands beyond the Emerald City and “distributes its load to other cities,” noting a density problem here.
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Approached by a Seattle Times reporter and photographer, some people on Amazon’s South Lake Union Seattle campus cheered the company’s move, while others theorized what the expansion could mean for the people who live here.
“I’m happy to distribute our people to places that can sustain us,” said Miller, of Phinney Ridge, who moved here from Orlando just six weeks ago. “Our growth here is unsustainable.”
Clayton, the cook, who did not want to share his full name, lives in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. He said he’s witnessed Amazon’s historic hiring boom and urban build-out transform the city he grew up in — turning South Lake Union from a hub for “junkies” to a global tech center. He also said he plans to move to North Carolina soon, in part because of the effects of the city’s tech boom.
Another Amazon employee, 34-year-old Matt of Woodinville, called Thursday’s news positive, as it means the company will attract new talent and expand its footprint and products. He works in advertising for the tech giant.
“It’s great to expand,” he said. “My perspective as an employee is thinking big is a good thing.”
He added: “Seattle will always be home.”
Like many other Amazon workers on sidewalks Thursday morning, Matt declined to give his full name, citing terms of his employment. A few employees simply called the expansion “interesting,” or raised their eyebrows with intrigue.
A construction worker who has spent years working on the Amazon Spheres, the glass domes at the corner of Lenora Street and Sixth Avenue, said the announcement means good things for the economy.
“It keeps me busy,” he said of the company’s growth.
One employee of the neighborhood’s Whole Foods market described Amazon as Seattle’s “sugar daddy.” People sporting blue lanyards, the corporation’s signature mark of employment, pack the store all day long.
Others echoed Clayton’s sentiment on Amazon driving up housing and rent costs in Seattle, and for them Thursday’s news shows a sign of relief.
In Seattle, recent data showed the median home price hit $730,000, up nearly 17 percent from a year ago.
It is unclear in which city Amazon will build the second campus, equal to the company’s home base in Seattle. The e-commerce giant expects to announce a decision next year, and start work on the first phase of a new campus by 2019.
Material from The Seattle Times archives contributed to this report.