Jeff Bezos moved from Seattle to Miami—and he could take some of … – Fortune

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Amazon and its founder turned executive chairman, Jeff Bezos, both look set for new ventures in Miami.

Bezos—the world’s second richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index—announced earlier this month that he was planning to move back to Miami, where his parents live and where he spent his high school years.

Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in 2021, handing the reins to current boss Andy Jassy. The company remains headquartered in Seattle, where Bezos launched Amazon from a garage in 1994.

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Despite relinquishing the top job at the company in a bid to focus on other ventures, Bezos retained a role at the firm as executive chairman—and his personal choice about where to live runs parallel with Amazon’s latest move in the commercial real estate market.

In the wake of the Amazon founder’s decision to relocate to Miami, it has emerged that the company is seeking out office space in the city, Bloombergreported on Monday.

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the publication said Amazon was searching for 50,000 square feet of space.

A spokesperson for Amazon did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment. However, the e-commerce giant confirmed to Bloomberg that it was indeed scoping out potential office space in the Floridian city.

Representatives for the company told Bloomberg that Amazon began looking for space in Miami before Bezos announced his intention to move there.

Return-to-office push

Amazon has been at the forefront of the return-to-office push, but has found itself at loggerheads with employees over its demands they drop some of their pandemic-era remote working privileges.

Back in February, the company told its workforce they would be expected to be in the office for the majority of the week from May this year.

“Collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we’re in person,” CEO Jassy wrote in an internal memo at the time. “The energy and riffing on one another’s ideas happen more freely.”

However, the return-to-office mandate was met with pushback from employees, with more than 28,000 Amazon workers joining an internal Slack channel called “Remote Advocacy.” Thousands of employees also signed a petition and staged a walkout to protest against the return-to-office push.

Despite a swath of employees opposing Amazon’s RTO rules, the company and its leadership have not backed down from the mandate.

“We’re always listening and will continue to do so, but we’re happy with how the first month of having more people back in the office has been,” Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told Fortune in June. “We understand that it’s going to take time to adjust back to being in the office more.”

Meanwhile, Jassy himself suggested in August that the prospects of employees who refused to comply with the rules were dim.

“If you can’t disagree and commit, it’s probably not going to work out for you at Amazon,” he said.

It has since been reported that Amazon staffers who aren’t in the office three days a week could miss out on promotions or even end up out of a job.

The company has good reason to want its workers back on site in person. Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled its new $2.5 billion headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, which will eventually be home to 8,000 staff members. It has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build an office hub in Nashville, Tennessee, and opened a new office in Midtown Manhattan in September—all on top of its corporate offices in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington.  

Its expansion into Miami would put Amazon in good company. A slew of big-name firms, including Nvidia, Citadel and Microsoft have all moved to Florida or expanded their presence there in recent years thanks to lower costs than other major hubs, a business-friendly regulatory environment and tax breaks for wealthy business owners.

Earlier this year, office occupancy in Miami surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Bezos’s move to Miami

In an Instagram post on Nov. 2, Bezos bid an emotional farewell to Seattle—but noted that the move would allow him to be closer to his post-Amazon project. His space exploration firm Blue Origin’s operations were “increasingly shifting” to Cape Canaveral, he said, which is about 200 miles from Miami.

He recently purchased two properties in Miami’s Indian Creek, an island known as the “Billionaire Bunker”: a $79 million seven-bedroom mansion, and the neighboring $68 million estate.

Bezos’s cross-country move hasn’t been without controversy.

The multibillionaire’s decision could come with significant financial upside, as Florida doesn’t tax capital gains and has no state income tax. The state also has zero estate tax, compared to Washington state’s tax on all estates valued at more than $2.19 million.

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