Amazon, which earlier this month scrapped a plan to open offices in New York after fighting with local politicians, is now backing out a lease at Rainier Square tower in Seattle. The lease was one of the biggest in the history of Seattle and the space was big enough to hold more than 3,500 employees.
Last year, the Seattle City Council was planning a tax on large employers to help fund affordable housing and homeless services. However, Amazon threatened to back out of the project if they did so. Though the city council did eventually reverse the decision and decided not to follow through with the tax, Amazon has stated it will not fill the 722,000 square feet of space the company had leased. Amazon restarted construction in another high-rise that had been paused due to the tax fight.
“We are always evaluating our space requirements and intend to sublease Rainier Square based on current plans,” Amazon said in a statement. “We are always evaluating our space requirements and intend to sublease Rainier Square based on current plans. We have more than 9,000 open roles in Seattle and will continue to evaluate future growth.”
Amazon has more than 45,000 employees in Seattle and occupies about ⅕ of the city’s prime office space. The company is often blamed for the sudden increase in the cost of living in Seattle, with home prices rising more than 75% from 2011 to 2018.
However, with this sublease of the Rainier Square tower, it might be an indication that Amazon’s growth in Seattle is slowing down.