Amazon is significantly expanding its white-collar presence in Southern California, announcing office leases to accommodate 2,500 new corporate and technology jobs in Santa Monica, Irvine and San Diego.
The e-commerce giant said Tuesday that it has signed three leases, which combine for 439,000 square feet, for what it described as “tech hubs” in the three cities. The leases bring Amazon’s office footprint in Southern California to more than 1.5 million square feet, representing an increase of more than 40%, according to real estate brokerage data.
The Seattle-based company said it plans to recruit locally for jobs in various areas including retail, operations, gaming and web services. Specific roles include software development engineers, game designers and user experience designers.
The three offices are the latest in a flurry of sites Amazon has opened over the last two years to handle the surge in demand from homebound consumers during the pandemic. Last week, the company acknowledged that the hiring spree has left it with too many workers and too much warehouse space as it reported a $3.8-billion quarterly loss.
E-commerce growth has slowed as the pandemic has waned, and analysts say the company now must trim its workforce without sparking labor unrest that would help unionization efforts.
Amazon workers at a New York facility on Monday rejected a union. Workers at a different Staten Island warehouse voted to unionize in April, a first for the nascent union movement among Amazon employees.
The retailer said it opened 15 sites in Southern California last year and added 17,000 jobs statewide, bringing the total Amazon workforce in California to 170,000. Amazon doubled its logistics network during the pandemic and is currently the second-largest private employer in the U.S. with 1.62 million workers.
“These 2,500 new jobs include roles building cloud infrastructure, improving the Alexa experience and designing cutting edge video games,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide economic development.
The offices will open by the middle of next year, and the workers will be hired over three years, the company said.
The largest lease is in Santa Monica, where Amazon has signed a deal to rent a 200,000-square-foot space at the Water Garden, a business center about two miles from the beach. The complex already houses an office for Amazon Studios, as well as other tech companies including software giant Oracle and video game creator Naughty Dog.
Expected to open in mid-2023, the new site will expand Amazon’s L.A. tech hub and accommodate more than 1,000 new tech and corporate jobs.
In Irvine, where the company has signed a lease for 116,000 square feet of office space at Spectrum Terrace, a modern complex with cabanas designed for meetings and an Olympic-length swimming pool on the way. Expected to open later this year, the site will accommodate about 800 new employees.
“Economic development, especially job creation, is critical to our city’s growth. Amazon’s expansion of its tech hub in Irvine is a testament to the fantastic talent pool and high quality of life our city has to offer,” said Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan, adding that the investment is a vote of confidence in the city.
In San Diego, the company has signed a lease for a 123,000-square-foot space at University Town Center, which will accommodate about 700 new employees. They’ll join about 1,000 employees already working at Amazon’s San Diego tech hub. The space will open in early 2023.