Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is moving away from Seattle, the city where he started an online bookseller that grew into a global tech giant.
Bezos posted a throwback video on Instagram on Thursday to announce the news, in which he is seen showing off one of Amazon’s earliest offices.
In the caption accompanying the post, Bezos says he wants to be closer to his parents and that as exciting as the move is, he calls it an “emotional decision,” adding, “Seattle, you will always have a piece of my heart.”
Seattle has been my home since 1994 when I started Amazon out of my garage. That’s my dad behind the camera in this video, touring Amazon’s first “office.” My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They recently moved back to Miami, the place we lived when I was younger (Miami Palmetto High class of ’82 — GO Panthers!) I want to be close to my parents, and Lauren and I love Miami. Also, Blue Origin’s operations are increasingly shifting to Cape Canaveral. For all that, I’m planning to return to Miami, leaving the Pacific Northwest.
I’ve lived in Seattle longer than I’ve lived anywhere else and have so many amazing memories here. As exciting as the move is, it’s an emotional decision for me. Seattle, you will always have a piece of my heart.
In his post, Bezos called Seattle his home since 1994, but Amazon was actually born east of the city in a garage in Bellevue, Wash. That 3-bedroom home went on the market in 2019.
Sporting glasses — and hair — in the video footage shot by his father, young Bezos points to his desk and a fax machine.
“It doesn’t take long to tour the offices of Amazon.com Inc.,” Bezos says.
Twenty-nine years later, Amazon employs 1.5 million people globally and 75,000 in the Seattle region as it has grown into one of the world’s most valuable companies, selling not just books but just about everything, from cloud computing to groceries to TV shows and movies. Beyond its sprawling urban headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, Amazon today has a large presence in Bellevue as well as across the country with a Northern Virginia “HQ2.”
Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon in 2021 but remains executive chairman. At the time, he expressed his desire to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, his Blue Origin space venture, The Washington Post, and other passions.
Blue Origin is headquartered in Kent, Wash., and has more than 10,000 employees spread out from Virginia to Arizona. But as Bezos pointed out in his Instagram post, Florida is where a lot of the action will be happening over the next year or two — primarily due to preparations for launching the company’s orbital-class New Glenn rocket from Cape Canaveral.
Bezos and ex-wife MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019 after 25 years of marriage. A novelist, Scott was a key figure in the early days of Amazon after she and Bezos moved to the Seattle region. The couple met when they worked together at hedge fund D.E. Shaw in New York. They have four children together.
As Amazon grew, Seattle grew and changed with it. A boom fueled by the company turned Seattle into a tech hub, where crises of affordability and homelessness became a leading concern — and Bezos and Amazon became a target of the backlash, in graffiti on city streets and at City Hall as some sought to slap a tax on the tech giant.
Even though Amazon is still firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest, Bezos has been putting down roots in other parts of the country for several years.
Reports last month tied Bezos and fianceè Lauren Sanchez to the purchase of a $79 million mansion in a Miami enclave called Indian Creek, or “billionaire bunker.” Bezos also owns luxury properties in Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills, Calif., and Maui, as well as a 417-foot, triple-masted sailing yacht that reportedly cost $500 million.
With a net worth of $160 billion, Bezos trails only Elon Musk on the list of the world’s richest people. CNBC wealth reporter Robert Frank pointed out in a post on X that Bezos may be finally fleeing Washington state in part to get away from taxes.
“Washington State has a new 7% tax on capital gains so he will owe $70 million in state taxes for every $1 billion of Amazon stock he sells. And he sells a lot,” Frank wrote.
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