Prime time

Austin primed to receive 800 new Amazon jobs despite HQ2 rejection

Austin primed to receive 800 new Amazon jobs despite HQ2 rejection

Amazon logo
Austin will still get Amazon jobs, despite not getting HQ2. Photo by Wallstplaybook.com

Runner-up status isn’t so bad after all. On March 28, Amazon announced it's adding 800 tech jobs in Austin, which just five months ago was a finalist for the e-commerce giant’s second headquarters.

The company says the 800 new employees will work at a 145,000-square-foot office in an office tower that’s set to open next year at the Domain, which has emerged as a go-to spot for a slew of major tech employers. Amazon will occupy about half of the office space in the building.

The jobs being added in Austin are in specialties such as software engineering, hardware engineering, research science, and cloud computing. Amazon already employs more than 6,600 people in the Austin area, including those who work for Whole Foods Market and at Amazon’s distribution center in San Marcos.

Amazon’s website currently lists more than 250 corporate-level job openings in Austin.

“In the last four years, we have created more than 1,000 jobs in Austin,” Terry Leeper, general manager of Amazon’s Austin Tech Hub, says in a release. “With a strong pool of technical talent in Austin and a dynamic quality of life, we are excited to continue to expand and create more opportunity in this vibrant city.”

Naturally, local government and business leaders quickly applauded Amazon’s expansion in the Capital City.

“We are pleased to see Amazon’s significant investment in the Austin region continue to grow,” Gary Farmer, chairman of the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunity Austin economic development initiative, says in a statement. “This expanding presence is indicative of our region’s ability to provide creative and innovative talent. We’re proud to call Amazon a partner in our efforts to achieve regional prosperity.”

The March 28 announcement comes after Austin competed for — but lost — a shot at Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.

In January 2018, Amazon picked Austin as one of 20 finalists for HQ2, a $5 billion project that promised 50,000 jobs, then, last November, stunned nearly everyone when it split HQ2 between two winners — New York City and Northern Virginia, with each supposed to land 25,000 jobs.

The HQ2 drama continued this February, when Amazon dropped New York from the project amid fierce, unrelenting local opposition. At that point, Amazon declared Northern Virginia would be the sole recipient of 25,000 HQ2 jobs, while Nashville still would pick up 5,000 previously announced jobs and other cities would gain jobs that had been destined for the Big Apple.

At the time, a number of Amazon observers predicted that cities like Austin would benefit from New York’s loss. Looks like they were correct.