Amazon plans Austin expansion that will add 800 jobs - GulfToday

Amazon plans Austin expansion that will add around 800 jobs

Amazon

An Amazon worker audits outgoing shipments moving along a conveyor belt at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in California. Reuters

AUSTIN: Adding to its already significant Austin presence, retail giant Amazon.com will add 800 tech-focused jobs at its hub in North Austin, company representatives told the American-Statesman.

New employees will fill a 145,000-square-foot space Amazon has leased on four floors at Domain 10, a 15-story tower being built at the Domain, a North Austin business, shopping and restaurant development. Amazon’s new office will open next year, with hiring expected to take place over “the next several years,” the company said.

Seattle-based Amazon already employs more than 5,600 workers in the Austin area, including more than 1,000 corporate-level staff members, as well as more than 2,000 at a warehouses in San Marcos and an additional 2,600 through its ownership of Austin-based Whole Foods Market.

The expansion will strengthen an Austin hub that is already among Amazon’s largest locations in the United States and Canada. The company said new hires here will be focused in the software and hardware engineering, research science and cloud computing divisions. The company did not provide specific salary estimates for the new Austin jobs, instead saying that “Amazon offers competitive pay and comprehensive benefits to its employees, including health care, 401(k) with 50 per cent match and flexible parental leave.”

Some of Amazon’s “very core things are being built in Austin,” Terry Leeper, Amazon’s site lead in Austin, said in an interview with the Statesman. “We’ve become quite critical to the company with respect to what we build here. Having a place outside of Seattle that we can recruit to and develop people and hire from is critical because we have been very successful here about gathering local talent.”

In a written statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said that with Amazon’s expansion in Austin, “Texas will continue to chart a path toward greater economic prosperity.”

Amazon’s Austin’s growth is part of an effort set in motion years ago and not related to the company’s recent pullout of a planned headquarters site in New York, Leeper said. Amazon in November selected New York and Northern Virginia for major headquarters hubs before deciding in February to cancel its New York project amid political and public backlash.

Amazon said then that the 25,000 jobs it had planned for New York would be spread out throughout its 17 corporate locations in the US and Canada, including Austin. Whether that means additional hiring beyond the Domain 10 plan in Austin is not yet clear, but the current Austin expansion is not tied to the New York withdrawal, Leeper said.

Amazon will not receive any financial incentives from the state or from local governments to open the new facility, according to the Greater Austin of Chamber of Commerce. While Amazon did not clarify how much investment the expansion represents, the company said it has created more than 22,000 full-time jobs in Texas since 2011 among corporate sites and warehouse locations and invested more than $7 billion in the state.

“We applaud Amazon’s decision to bring more jobs to the Austin region,” Austin chamber spokeswoman Danielle Trevino said in a written statement. “These jobs are more opportunities for Central Texas families to pay their bills, put food on their tables and provide for their families. We look forward to continuing our region’s strong relationship with Amazon.”

The Austin metro area has grown into one of Amazon’s premier locations.

As one of the world’s largest companies, with a market value approaching $900 billion, Amazon’s tentacles reach throughout Central Texas.

Besides its presence at the Domain, at the six Whole Foods stores here and the warehouse in San Marcos, Austin is home to one of Amazon’s bookstores and has been a site for new delivery and shopping projects by the company.

In January 2018, Amazon named Austin as one of 20 finalists for its $5 billion second headquarters project, which the company had announced in September 2017, spurring a more than yearlong public search.

Amazon eventually chose to split the development between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington, Va., which offered the company billions in combined incentives. Amazon decided to kill its plans for New York after backlash over the incentives offered by the city and state.

Regardless of the second headquarters competition, Leeper said, Amazon always planned to grow its Austin site.

The company opened its first corporate office here in 2015 and has steadily grown its presence. Its new location will be an extension of those plans, Leeper said. Amazon signed a lease for Domain 10 late last year.

Tribune News Service