Bellevue’s boom: City’s tech industry is poised to eat Seattle’s lunch
By - OnlineMemeArmy
>Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series exploring Bellevue’s growth as a tech and innovation hub. The series is underwritten by MN Custom Homes.
Yeah I’m sure a literal bought and paid for advertisement by property a developer building homes in Bellevue disguised as journalism is giving us an unbiased look at “Bellevue good, Seattle bad” lol
>MN Custom Homes
These fuck faces have been bulldozing older homes all over Bellevue and building new ones 3X the size for $2-3 million.
It’s weird to me that an Eastside residential home building property developer would underwrite this, considering the recent housing market on the east side compared to Seattle: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/heres-one-more-sign-of-cooling-in-seattles-hot-housing-market/
Demand is surging in the east side while being cooler in Seattle:
> In Seattle, the $850,000 median home price was up 4% over the same time in 2020. In Bellevue east of Interstate 405, the $1.3 million median home price last month was up 29% compared to a year earlier.
A business has never tried to stop making more money because they’re already making money.
I'm sure the developer would love for the Bellevue housing market to continue to grow 29% year over year and sell those $1.3 million dollar homes for $1.7 next year.
Lol. I guess that is a great point. I was just thinking from the perspective of “this stuff sells itself, why are you underwriting a puff piece?”
That being said, I wonder how much it costs to underwrite this? $5k $100k? I have literally no idea lol
But hey, if this article convinces just one person to move to Bellevue and that sparks one bidding war on one property they own that causes the house to go $300k over asking, it was completely worth it I guess.
> That being said, I wonder how much it costs to underwrite this? $5k $100k? I have literally no idea lol
I’ll never cease to be amazed at how cheap manipulating public opinion, buying congresspeople, etc. can be be for companies. Russia managed to weaponize FB and sway the 2016 election for a paltry sum. Congressmembers can be convinced to pass legislation that is demonstrably harmful to their constituents for “bundled donations” in the five figure range. If I had to bet, I’d put the cost of underwriting an ad posing as news like this one at the bottom end of your scale. Maybe lower.
>mpanies. Russia managed to weaponize FB and sway the 2016 election for a paltry sum. Congressmembers can be convinced to pass legislation that is demonstrably harmful to their constituents for “bundled donations” in the five figure range. If I had to bet, I’d put the cost of underwriting an ad posing as news like this one at the bottom end of your scale. Maybe lower.
Exactly. I had assumed bribing members of congress must be worth a few millions, nope. Sometimes it is not even money, weekend at a retreat, some wine, the chance to meet new people.
But I do want to know how much the underwriting was.
This company makes McMansions for wannabe tech millionaires, so they don't really care what the MEDIAN home price is. They bulldoze cheap houses and build cheap (but expensive) houses in their place.
Looks like you forgot the second half of this quip:
> Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series exploring Bellevue’s growth as a tech and innovation hub. The series is underwritten by MN Custom Homes, **and the GeekWire editorial team reports the story independently of any sponsor involvement.** [Learn more about underwritten and sponsored content on GeekWire.](https://www.geekwire.com/underwritten-sponsored-content-geekwire/)
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> Updated May 11, 2020
Before the mandatory "AmAzOn IsNt LeAvInG SeAtTlE, ToO mAnY oFfIcEs" comment:
Amazon pays $231 dollars in JumpStart tax for every entry level engineer in Seattle. They pay $23,280 for every director. Moving 1 director avoids the same amount of tax burden as moving 100 entry level engineers. Guess how much tax they pay on recruiters? $0, because most of them make under $150K
There's not going to be some max exodus of fresh CS students or recruiters; it's the execs and high level management that are coming over - at least to start.
I think Amazon should be paying more in tax, but I also think the SCC wrote a stupid law that's just counterproductive. Both things can be true.
Ehhh. They were gonna have a giant HQ2 there too. Or in NYC. Or somewhere. Look how that panned out. Also, a friend who recently left mentioned that Amazon SDEs that quit in 2021 are up to 10K, from 7.5K in 2020. No idea what it was in 2019, but it seems like a lot, when there's about 50k total in Seattle.
They're gonna hire people wherever they can but they've about maxed out room for expansion in Seattle.
The head tax is bad policy at the city and county level. It will inevitably backfire and the city will need to revert offering tax incentives to attract these jobs back to the city. It's mid/late 90s to mid 00's Chicago repeating itself. Head taxes are bad policy
Seattle had head taxes through the boom years at the beginning of this century without any controversy or businesses threatening to leave over it.
There was lower competition from suburbs then too since Seattle has forever been the primary economic anchor of the region. Chicago lost hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs to nearby growing suburbs, and to a lesser extent other cities within the region, when industry groups teamed up to build shiny new office complexes & create targeted marketing plans aimed squarely at corporate decision makers.
If you're a company executive with a comp plan tied directly to achieving specific profitability metrics (aka every senior executive at any public company) then it's a no brainer to shift your office space to an adjacent zip code with a lower tax burden. You'll retain >90% of your workforce, get a deal on some (likely cheaper, newer & more efficient) office space and cut your department tax expense by a notable margin. As the executive decision maker you just exceeded your profitability goal by slightly altering your commute.
Local policy decisions have driven growth out of the city and into the suburbs. The only beneficiary of these policies are those suburbs as tax revenues that would've otherwise stayed in the city is now going to Bellevue's coffers along with those high paid employees & the sales and property taxes they would have paid staying in the city.
and what happens when directors move to Bellevue? Some number of engineers and EMs follow.
>I also think the SCC wrote a stupid law
It looks like the city of Seattle agrees with you considering the original version of this bill was repealed as quickly as it passed.
Cities get most their revenue through property and sales tax. Encouraging high earners to move out of the city and discouraging future high earners from ever coming into the city is going to lower the tax collection far more than whatever their head tax law will bring in.
I'm honestly shocked at how short sighted some of these policies can be, especially when they are simple math. 50,000 (Amazon's current head count) people spend x in sales tax and y in property tax. If half of them go away and never come back you lose 25,000(x)(y) in tax revenue. Yes I know not all Amazon HQ employees live in Seattle proper but you get the idea, especially the signal to future companies that if they setup shop here they will be taxed extra and if they excel here they will suddenly be taxed even more. Most companies that need to expand to a new city already know they have a bright future and seeing how SCC treated the existing successful company already here, I could see these future companies quickly looking elsewhere.
You will also have a glut of unused office buildings that could get squatted in and damaged which is a lot like how buildings in SLU looked before Amazon moved in. Spoiler: It was terrible.
At the end of the day, the average person in Seattle gets hurt the most by this tax because Seattle will not have the tax revenue they once had because of some bill that wasn't even approved on by the voters.
It’s never easy to predict the outcome of a policy like the one SCC is advocating, but I’m not convinced companies will only move their high earners incurring a tax cost out if they decide to move. Directors don’t like sitting in an empty building without any worker bees. If the directors (at any company) move out of Seattle due to the head tax, barring a flexible work policy where no one is in the office anyways (which itself raises issues for the head tax), they will want the teams they manage to move as well.
We've been watching Amazon for over a decade, and their MO is pretty clear:
Do absolutely everything they can in the name of tax avoidance and margin protection. Amazon's behavior is very predictable.
I don't know if everyone is moving their headcount out of Seattle. And for companies that are thinking about it, we won't see some of the movement for years because of how they have their leases written.
Amazon just employs at enough scale in the area to do something about it today.
>Directors don’t like sitting in an empty building without any worker bees
I think a company that tells warehouse workers to piss in bottles is not going to have a hard time telling directors to get over themselves.
They can't leave, Jeff planted his balls in the ground.
Couple of problems there. Existing employers may have trouble moving, but that still doesn’t resolve the issue of newcomers to the region who want to set up an office. If they’re weighing the pro’s and con’s of Seattle vs. Bellevue, this policy may very well tip the scales towards Bellevue. As to your point on Amazon, I’m not sure how warehouse workers are relevant to the discussion. I thought we were talking about tech employees who earn enough to either be subject to the head tax themselves, or report to someone who does. Those are the ones who could get moved…does Amazon even have a warehouse in Seattle itself?
Amazon would gladly pay $231 dollars per working day per entry level engineer if they were 5% more productive. That tax burden is minuscule.
I don't think they would. $231/day x 365 days/year = $84,315/year.
If a 5% boost to an engineers productivity is worth more than $84k per year, that means the engineer is already producing $1.68M per year in profit.
This is a moot point anyway. The tax is $231 **per year**, not per day.
Also 231*52*5 so $60,060 since even Amazon isn't working it's employees 365 days a year as much as they'd like to. But yeah, moot point.
If you could get a 5% increase in production from someone who gets one day off every four years, you’d double their salary.
Bellevue is going to grow itself into having Seattle sized problems, developers are just trying to accelerate it.
What problems are those? And do you think Bellevue will tackle them any differently than Seattle?
The same problems every big city has - traffic, sewage, environmental, income inequality and poor/homeless, schools forced to grow more quickly than they can handle, etc. I haven't seen that Bellevue handles issues any better than Seattle over the past 40 years.
I see bellevue handled it better than seattle better in the past, but it doesn’t guarantees the future is the same. Bellevue had some unique advantages in demographics, immigration, environment and less historical baggage.
That's because Bellevue was Bellevue Square and a few strip malls 40 years ago. It hasn't faced the real severe problems yet.
40 years ago there’s no tech industry for seattle either, or Sunnyvale and Fremont were also bellevue sized towns as well. The tech “challenges” were a new phenomenon only appeared earlier from Bay Area. Your 40 years argument only showed your age in this area but doesn’t provide any new knowledge about this challenge
Even if that did happen, would it really be so bad? I've lived in Seattle since the early 2000s. At that time, most tech jobs *were* on the Eastside, and yet Seattle was still a vibrant place to live with a distinct culture and music scene. (If anything, it was better than now from the standpoint of affordability, housing availability, and generally a more egalitarian city where working-class people and artists could afford to live.)
I'm actually a fan of dense urban growth, but I think it's not scalable to transplant more and more high-income folks into the city without simultaneously making massive socialized investments in housing and welfare programs for the communities already living here - and you need taxes to pay for these things.
Instead, we seem to be trying to achieve Finland-style quality of life with Wyoming-style libertarianism with NYC-style density... it's simply not feasible.
I’m kinda looking at it the same way. I wouldn’t like the tech companies to leave entirely, but I see upside when it come to employers adding jobs to a growing second downtown in Bellevue, especially with light rail coming online there in a few years.
And 100% agreed on your comparisons from the early 2000’s to now.
It's not even a few years really, it's supposed to open in 2023. They're getting close to finishing the thing and then going through testing it to make sure none of the trains end up in the lake.
Of course once there's a direct line between Seattle and Microsoft on the light rail, it could make affordability a little worse.
You’d probably find this interesting.
I see some parallels.
These threads always turn into a mess lol
Meanwhile r/seattlewa is sucking this article’s dick. God that place fucking sucks.
What else is new, losers have nothing better to do.
today's top thread is idiots getting real mad at a halloween decoration because they think its a homeless person
Being a tech worker is great in Seattle. Every light pole has a sticker telling you that you are not welcome here.
Also a tech worker, moved here from the east coast to work for Amazon 4.5 years ago. I understand why people are upset by people like me moving here. Before Amazon Seattle was a smaller, more affordable, and probably more artsy/unique city before Amazon brought a bunch of transplants to the city. When you actually get to talk to "the activists" that probably put up those stickers they're generally cool people and don't hate you even if you say you work at Amazon.
People just don't like change. The service workers struggling to get by or the wealthy homeowners in Magnolia both don't like it. The major problem is that the city wasn't responsive enough to the increase in jobs to start zoning for more places for people to live. If there's only so many places to live the people who can afford it will win. This is why the stickers don't bother me. I'm lucky, I can weather crazy high rent increases thanks to my tech job. Not everyone can. We just need more housing and "the activists" seem to be the first group that gets it with wanting to allow middle housing everywhere in the city.
I'm a tech worker myself, but it might be worth taking a moment to detach from immediately taking such sentiments personally and instead try to understand where people are coming from. When people get uprooted and displaced (or in the worst case, rendered homeless), they tend to ask: is the influx of wealthy people and high rents really worth it? It's not that they have a specific vendetta against individuals who happen to work in tech; it's that they are getting swept under a crushing wave of housing unaffordability, fragmented communities, and a city of extreme and growing inequality.
So they lash out at individuals who aren't doing anything wrong other than trying to make a life in a new city, rather than the system that causes the inequities? I don't think techies are the ones who need detachment.
I have little sympathy for people that have the energy and resources to create divisive stickers to place around the city, but can't find the time or resources to learn a skill that will give them the standard of living they desire.
Wait you are actually in real time observing that the skills that capitalism rewards are arbitrary, and the thing you are mad at are the people not conforming to the arbitrary whims of capitalists?
Divisive sticker creator is presumably creating divisive stickers because of some sort of belief about how society should be structured, and not because they were unaware of user interface design existing.
Pretty hard to believe that divisive sticker creator was not involved in society given we are discussing their creations.
There is nothing arbitrary about supply and demand. Engineers are in demand. Liberal arts majors are not. It was easy for me to choose what skill to pursue to have an elevated standard of living. These "capitalist whims" are the same now as they were in the 90s.
Both supply and demand are extremely arbitrary. Like you are correctly observing engineers are more in demand than divisive stickers creators, but the reasons driving that are very arbitrary. Thinking we need more engineers and less divisive sticker creators necessarily stems from a value system.
It might be hard to decide whether we need more engineers or liberal arts majors. But it's pretty easy to decide we don't need people who go out of their way to create unwelcome stickers about another set of people. Who gives a damn about their beliefs about what's fair and what's not.
Yes, it's easy for you to decide that, but the unwelcome sticker makers have clearly came to the opposite conclusion, and you won't find any sort of objective way to show that you are right and they are wrong.
Also let's do a thought exercise. Who were they trying to win over with those stickers? Definitely not the tech workers. I am guessing they are trying to win support from other disgruntled people who aren't happy about the cost of living in Seattle.
What's their method for winning this support? By making the tech workers a nice identifiable target for their woes. Great going there. Totally the kind of people i would want around me. Theres some bs about punching up and down. Would this be punching up or down? Keep in mind that most tech workers are from out of state and even out of country with no support networks. All they have is money, money they can't often use to build that missing support network because they don't have the skillset for it or because it's not enough or because the law prohibits them from participating in politics (non-citizens).
Why not the tech workers? Do you think the tech workers are idiots incapable of self-reflection?
True. I don't see how I and those sticker makers can agree on something. So i just think cry some more and move on with my day. And based on how impactful those stickers were i am guessing a lot of other people are doing the same thing. There's your objective data. How many people did those stickers persuade
GG man :)
Are you fucking kidding me.. This is a worse take than a 14 year old taking their first bong hit would come up with. Some people never grow up huh
I’m having a hard time here. Why do you call the fact that consumers want to buy the products that engineers create, and they don’t want to buy stickers, an “arbitrary value system”. The reasoning is self evident, it isn’t arbitrary unless you are redefining that word
HAHAHA. Thanks for the laugh.
Grow some skin. I can guarantee most people here, even progressives and socialists, do not give a shit if you're a tech worker. There is also a minority of arrogant tech workers who genuinely believe their presence alone is improving the city, and anyone struggling to keep a roof over their head can just fuck off elsewhere.
I have grown some thick skin. Skin so thick the empathy for liberal arts majors and drug addicts can't get out.
Yup. Love it. Makes me wonder what all these people do
When they say eat the rich, they are including you in that list also. If I was a tech worker in Seattle proper, I’d honestly equip myself for self defense and hostility.
Progressive violence does not concern me in the slightest.
But they might glare at us disapprovingly!
Right wingers are the violent ones. All progressives do is complain about Bezos, vandalize the city with rude stickers about my job, and lose elections.
Don’t forget that progressives also set buildings on fire, harass people on their homes, and vandalize shit like Starbucks, Apple stores, ATM machines, and oe symbols of their oppression.
Does anybody know where I can purchase those tech bro go home stickers? Id love to put some up
You can use Sticker Mule to design and purchase your own.
You know how I know you are not a tech bro? You have to ask reddit how to use google.
…you know how I know you’ve clearly done no research into this? They don’t come up with a google search.
I obviously know I could make them myself you dipshit, that isn’t what I was asking. The stickers that you see around town are all of the same design so Its reasonable to assume they are made by the same person/group and was wondering if anyone knew who it was who made them. Don’t read into shit too hard, it was just a question
Not my fault your reading comprehension didn’t advance beyond the 8th grade. I’ll make sure to break things down into nice, easily digestible sentences for you next time
It is true. I didn't bother googling it myself. I hope you find your sticker.
Well yeah. Bellevue actually wants tech companies and understands their value. I just moved offices from Seattle to Bellevue, along with my whole team (though we’re still remote generally). The people of Bellevue also don’t put stickers up everywhere talking about how much tech workers suck, so that’s a plus too. Been a home owner in Seattle for a while yet I get to see ‘techies go home’ and the like everywhere. I used to like living in the city, but may be time to shift over to more space and less hostility on the east side.
Once more tech workers move to Bellevue than there are currently empty housing units, the dislike will manifest.
Meh. Dislike from Bellevue folks? Doubtful. Bellevue is a tech born town and they generally aren’t full of folks who don’t understand basic economic concepts. Best one I see around here in Seattle is people trying to get signatures for rent control, big red flag for basic understanding of the world.
You think Bellevue will build more housing fast enough?
That’s not the point. They at least understand that tech workers being forced out is actually bad for the economy since that’s where revenue and the like comes from.
That’s a very specific type of GDP-centric view of economy.
Do you think that it’s okay for some people to be fabulously wealthy at the direct cost of making some people homeless?
Because if there are 2000 empty housing units in Bellevue and 3000 tech workers and their families move in, that’s 1000 homeless families created (adjusted by the creation of new housing units).
And if they move there from Seattle, that’s 3000 fewer homeless families in Seattle.
I actually studied economics (in addition to computer science) so it’s not a ‘view’ it’s just how the economy works if you want a growing, and not shrinking/stagnating economy. I’m not sure how you’re defining an economy but it’s definitely not how economists do.
It’s not “economy” that you’re defining, it’s “good” that you’re defining. And economists are very much not moral philosophers.
Lol. Thankfully they aren’t.
So, what makes GDP growth good, and is that factor present in a community if a company moves in and displaces existing residents?
Economics teachers where I went to school constantly lauded Keynesian Econ, unbridled capitalism, and trickle down theory, so saying “I studied economics” really doesn’t amount to much.
Keynesian economics and “unbridled capitalism” strike me as being diametrically opposed. I’m surprised your economics teachers were espousing both of those viewpoints. Are you sure you aren’t just throwing out buzzwords trying to sound like you’re familiar enough with the subject matter to dismiss OP’s comment without having to confront it?
You sound like someone who wasn’t paying attention in said classes, or any classes.
I was paying attention, which is why teachers espousing varied and conflicting viewpoints were confounding to me. Instead of asking questions you make assumptions. I spent four years before college working to pay for college - I paid more attention than most of my classmates.
You’ve lost the entire larger point by latching onto your assumptions about what I was saying instead of asking questions to figure out the parts you misinterpreted. It’s stated above, but I’ll state it again: the majority of the economic community is so hooked on GDP as a representation of economic health while also ignoring that the GDP ignores fundamental pieces of its own puzzle to the detriment of those pieces.
It’s like you decided making up random numbers that don’t make sense for anything somehow would make you look smart. Taking on someone who owns a tech business and is literally the example of business moving to the east side. You lack self-awareness, harbor obvious resentment and jealousy of those who make money, and have awful reasoning capability.
What do you estimate the number of vacant housing units in Bellevue to be? I made some assumptions about family size and empty inventory.
Meaningless assumptions. You also didn’t account for the plain fact more housing units can be built on the east side, as there is far more space. And as long as Seattle exists to be the diametric opposite of filth and squalor, Bellevue and Redmond will have the incentive to *not* go that way. Your made up numbers about 2000-3000 = 1000 new homeless people is so absurd it’s funny.
You could at least not lie about what I said.
Is that supposed to be an insult?
Not everyone wants to live in a city where the average salary is $150k and the average home costs $1M, even if they can afford it.
I have a PhD in microbiology. I *can* make $150k/year by going into biotech or consulting or pharma. I don't want to. I like my academic job where I can work on projects that are likely to improve the heath of people in poor countries but unlikely to be profitable.
If the head tax moves a significant number of high paying jobs out of Seattle and the price of housing falls, that's fine with me. I'd rather live in a city where teachers, social workers, cops, firefighters, artists, retail workers, and lots of other types of people can afford to live. I don't want to live in a place where only tech workers who live to maximize their value on the open market can afford a home.
It’s not going to be such a large exodus that housing prices are going to fall in Seattle. I think that ship has sailed. You gotta ride the wave on top or get pummeled underneath.
Watch what you wish for, Bellevue. Also, didn’t Expedia just move from Bellevue to Seattle?
True but to be fair, Expedia made the decision several years ago. Ever since from what I observed, tech companies opened up more offices in east side for sure.
It's not just about the taxes and anti-business attitudes of the Seattle City Council. It's about package thefts, burglaries, and crime in general. It's about parking spaces, travel times, and drivability. It's about encampments and losing public spaces to drug-addicted vagrants. It's about a school system that prioritizes being woke above the fundamentals. Enough of these issues have piled up that many businesses and residents have had enough, and recognize Seattle has moved away from the values and politics that made it attractive, livable, and thriving in the first place.
RIP my rent. 🪦
God I hope so. The faster big tech leaves Seattle the better. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out
Seattle today has a far more diversified economy than Detroit in the 1960's. Tech isn't even the biggest employment sector, it's healthcare and education. I don't agree with the person you're responding to, but this kind of arrogance explains a lot of the animosity toward the tech sector.
Every city does not have multiple large research institutions like UW, Seattle Children's, or Fred Hutch. We also have a nice port going for us. Having a lot of tech companies is a nice bonus but there are many other industries that will continue to attract people to the city.
"The calculus has changed," they said, without coming out and saying out loud it's about the ongoing problems Seattle brought on itself embracing progressive policies towards police and crime.
Hey, this guy fell for the advertorial!
everything's a conspiracy if you strain hard enough.
If you work that hard at shitting, you'll give yourself an aneurism.
Go ahead and send all the tech workers to Eagleton. I'm fine with that.
sawing off the branch you're sitting on. Who do you think paying taxes? Starbucks baristas?
Seattle existed long before we became a tech hub, something tells me we'll make it by if a lot of them left. The world keeps on spinning and maybe housing prices will go down a little.
I'm sure Detroit said the same thing
Seattle doesn't exist solely at the whims of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezoz. I'll roll the dice on this one.
Who said it does? I guess those pesky straw men did.
Let Seattle become the next Detroit 🤡. Lower wage, tax, rent for all!
Good riddance! Just stay over there!