Amazon is herding its corporate employees back into offices for at least three days a week, starting this May, in its attempt to turn remote working opportunities into in-office or hybrid situations moving forward.
“It’s easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a company blog post. “It’s especially true for new people (and we’ve hired a lot of people in the pandemic), but it’s also true for people of all tenures at Amazon. When you’re in-person, people tend to be more engaged, observant, and attuned to what’s happening in the meetings and the cultural clues being communicated.”
Only a “small minority” of jobs will avoid the changes into becoming hybrid roles for the company, according to Jassy.
“Not just nice, it will be critical to have more people in downtown Seattle. You know downtown Seattle was already on the downswing pre-pandemic,” Brandi Kruse said on KIRO Newsradio. “But when the pandemic hit and all the workers went away, all the people who were there for legitimate business activities or tourism, when all of that went away during the pandemic, it revealed the worst of the city.”
Last month, Nike decided to shutter its downtown store (1500 6th Avenue) due to the state of downtown, according to KTTH radio host Jason Rantz. The store operated there for nearly 30 years.
As I reported a few weeks ago, Nike just officially announced they’re closing their Seattle store at the end of the week.
It was driven, in large part, by the deteriorating conditions of the area.
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) January 18, 2023
Downtown Seattle Nike store to close at the end of the week
“I don’t often feel terrible for big corporations, but Target downtown, I feel so bad that they are still operating down there,” Kruse said. “You see these open-air markets filled with stolen merchandise that just proliferated on the streets, especially Third Avenue. And then, slowly, one by one, businesses down there started to close.”
In response to the crime rates in downtown, Business Improvement Area (BIA) levies are contracting private security groups, with one BIA spending $564,000 on private security for the downtown area back in 2021.
“I mean, we saw NikeTown, which has been a fixture in downtown Seattle, finally decided to close its doors. There are some blocks in Seattle where there’s not a single storefront that’s operating a business,” Kruse said. “I’m not exaggerating. There’s not a single storefront operating a business downtown between Pike and Pine on Fifth Avenue. Go and look at that the east side of that block. There’s not a single store open.”
The number of visitors downtown is still below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), but in October 2022, there were 2.4 million visitors, compared to 2.5 million three years earlier.
Meridian 16 shutting down in downtown Seattle
DSA reported worker foot traffic was at 44% of pre-pandemic levels by Q4 2022.
“Amazon is offering Seattle an olive branch it does not deserve, but I really, really hope that city leaders will take it,” Kruse said. “I hope that voters will take it as Amazon brings its workforce back and, hopefully, it helps offset some of the criminal element in downtown Seattle. I hope that voters will keep that in mind as they elect seven city council members this year.”