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Amazon Makes Big Move in Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

May 3, 2022 -- Amazon is poised to become one of Santa Monica's largest employers after signing a lease that will bring more than 1,000 high-paying jobs to the City starting next year.

Amazon officials announced the move on Tuesday, saying the company has leased a 200,000-square-foot space at the Water Garden, a 17-acre office park that helped launch Santa Monica's reputation as Silicon Beach.

"Amazon plans to create more than 1,000 new corporate and tech jobs in Santa Monica over the coming years," Amazon said in a statement. "The new site will begin welcoming employees in mid-2023."

The move is part of Amazon's expansion in Southern California, where it opened more than 15 sites last year, company officials said.

In addition to the Water Garden site near Santa Monica's southeastern edge, Amazon will open a tech hub in Irvine that will employ some 800 workers and another in San Diego, where some 700 jobs will be created, officials said.

Amazon’s expansions in California will support various teams across the company, including retail, Amazon Games, Amazon Web Services and operations, according to the company.

“These 2,500 new jobs include roles building cloud infrastructure, improving the Alexa experience, and designing cutting edge video games," said Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide economic development.

"They’re a fantastic opportunity for Californians of all backgrounds to join Amazon and build a successful career,” Sullivan said.

Once its new Water Garden space is filled, Amazon is expected to become one of Santa Monica's biggest private employers -- after Snap, Inc., which currently has 1,667 employees, Universal Music Group with 1,400 and Hulu with 1,320 employees.

Like many major employers, Amazon struggled to hire and retain workers last year, with its turnover rate reaching crisis levels as a record 50 vice presidents left the company, according to media reports.

In January, Amazon said it was more than doubling the maximum base salary of many of its corporate jobs from $160,000 to $350,000 and increasing the compensation ranges of most of its jobs, according to reports.

One of the world's five biggest companies, Amazon also said it was changing the timing of stock awards to align with promotions, according to Bloomberg.

“This past year has seen a particularly competitive labor market, and in doing a thorough analysis of various options, weighing the economics of our business and the need to remain competitive for attracting and retaining top talent, we decided to make meaningfully bigger increases to our compensation levels than we do in a typical year,” the company told employees in February.

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