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Amazon in Irvine: 800-Job Gorilla

One of Several Tech Giants Adding Hundreds of Positions in City

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Amazon says it plans to create more than 800 corporate and tech jobs at a new location in Irvine over the next few years.

The $1.1 trillion-valued e-commerce giant (Nasdaq: AMZN) this month confirmed that it had signed a lease for 116,000 square feet of space at Irvine Co.’s Spectrum Terrace development, taking over a full building at the mid-rise office park later this year.

The Business Journal in January was first to report on the Amazon lease, among the top local office deals in the past year. The company didn’t disclose its intended uses for the office at the time of the initial story of the lease.

The Amazon office employees will be divided among retail, operations and the company’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) division, Amazon spokesperson Zach Goldsztejn told the Business Journal on May 4.

The deal adds to a string of notable full-building leases at Spectrum Terrace, which is now in its final phase of construction.

Talent Hub

Goldsztejn said that access to talent remains the number one factor when looking at where to invest, noting that both the Los Angeles and Irvine areas have excellent universities.

The company announced on May 3 that it also plans to expand in Santa Monica and San Diego, in addition to Irvine.

Goldsztejn said Amazon already has more than 5,000 corporate and tech employees at what it calls its “Los Angeles Tech Hub,” which includes Irvine, Culver City, and Santa Monica.

Amazon currently employs more than 170,000 people across California, with thousands of roles available from tech to logistics

These latest investments come after Amazon said it opened more than 15 sites across Southern California and created more than 17,000 jobs statewide in 2021 alone.

A variety of roles are already available for the Irvine office, including software development engineers, game designers, and user experience designers, along with positions in human resources, finance, IT, and more, according to the company’s jobs page.

Irvine Mayor

“Economic development, especially job creation, is critical to our city’s growth,” Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said in a statement after the lease was confirmed. “Amazon’s expansion of its tech hub in Irvine is a testament to the fantastic talent pool and high quality of life our city has to offer.

The city, in conjunction with Irvine Co., five years ago made a bid for “Amazon HQ2,” a base of operations that once promised nearly 50,000 jobs spread across millions of square feet of office space.

Northern Virginia won the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes in 2018.

Spectrum Base

Amazon already has a good-sized presence in the Spectrum area of the city, with its Amazon Games Orange County unit located on the opposite side of the San Diego (405) Freeway as Spectrum Terrace.

The gaming studio pulls out all the stops to recruit people.

“Surf in the morning, ski or mountain bike in the afternoon, or drive a half-hour to Disneyland—Orange County offers a quality of life that’s hard to beat!” according to the unit’s online information board.

Apple Tree

Amazon’s far from alone on the hiring front: the city is poised to add thousands of tech and med-tech positions in the near future, including a large group of positions at the office campus where the e-commerce firm will be soon setting up shop.

The Business Journal in April was first to report on Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) striking a full-building lease at the campus, at one of the three new buildings currently under construction.

Sources tell the Business Journal that the firm will use the location for a new wireless chips division it is putting in the city, potentially putting it up against the likes of local chip powerhouses Broadcom and Skyworks Solutions.

“The quality and number of innovative companies leasing at Spectrum Terrace and Innovation Office Park validate Irvine’s growing status as an epicenter of talent and innovation,” Steve Case, executive vice president for the office division of Irvine Co., told the Business Journal.

“Forward-thinking companies understand dynamic office environments bring people together, inspire teams and drive business success,” Case said.

Elsewhere in the city, medical device maker Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW), the most valuable public company in Orange County with a nearly $60 billion valuation as of last week, recently listed over 220 open positions for its expansive Irvine headquarters campus along Red Hill Avenue, where it has spent well over $200 million buying land and building new facilities the past several years.

Electric vehicle upstart Rivian Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: RIVN), valued around $20 billion as of last week, says it has openings for over 370 positions at its rapidly expanding Irvine headquarters, where it has already built a base of nearly 2,000 workers in a few short years.

Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal

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