According to a new analysis by the Seattle Times, tech-giant Amazon now occupies 19 percent of all office space in Seattle. That’s more square footage of office space than the city’s next 40 biggest employers occupy combined.
The Times found that among the nation’s largest 20 cities, only Columbus, Ohio has a situation comparable in its dominance to Amazon. In Columbus, insurer Nationwide occupies 16 percent of local office space. Despite the high percentage, it’s still less than half of Amazon’s total square footage.
Amazon currently lays claim to 8.1 million square feet of office space in Seattle. That number is expected to rise to 12 million square feet in the next five years. The company has spent over $4 billion on real estate in Seattle over the past two decades.
The rapid expansion of office space has been necessary to accommodate Amazon’s enormous growth. The company now employs about 40,000 employees in Seattle, up from 5,000 in 2010.
Amazon’s prevalence could be a cause for concern if the business wasn’t so stable and diversified. Boeing dominated Seattle in the 1970s, but when it cut two-thirds of its employees, the local economy took a big hit. As the Times points out, unlike Boeing, whose local operations focus on the single business of building airplanes, Amazon runs a vast web of “mutually reinforcing but diverse businesses,” from selling computing power, to retail, to publishing books and producing films.
The company is by far the largest employer in Seattle and anticipates 55,000 employees will be working for Amazon at the beginning of next decade.