By the Daily Post staff
Amazon is leaving its offices in University Circle that are next to the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto after voters passed a tax on commercial property and companies including Amazon plan to have their employees continue to work from home after the pandemic.
Amazon Web Services will be vacating its 90,000 square feet of space by July 1, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Amazon said it is leaving the site because of more employees working from home.
The move follows a decision by East Palo Alto voters in November 2018 to pass a parcel tax on commercial properties of 25,000 square feet or larger. Measure HH passed with 80% of the vote.
The tax was estimated to raise $1.6 million and Amazon was expected to be the only company to pay it. Commercial “triple net” leases require the tenant to pay property taxes, not the landlord.
Money from Measure HH was supposed to go for “affordable and supportive housing programs; programs that facilitate access to job opportunities in the STEM sectors, building trades and strengthen First Source Hiring; and for City to administer the ordinance and provide annual reports,” according to the ballot language.
University Circle is not Amazon’s only location in East Palo Alto. In 2017, the company expressed interest in moving into the Sobrato project at Donahoe and University but did not want to follow the city’s request to hire 30% East Palo Alto residents. So instead, the company and Sobrato struck an agreement with the city council to open an employment center at the building.
Amazon’s departure from University Circle comes as plans for a new six-story tower at University Circle are under review by the city from owner Columbia Property Trust.
Run away from exorbitant taxes!
This is a fools way. You can’t just keep increasing taxes and forcing employers to hire people. They will up and leave. EPA is now even worse off. Maybe they can try taxing all the small and medium businesses next…
Don’t know who is greedier in this case but suspecting that the city is. For amazon it’s a business decision. For bureaucrats when the businesses are all gone, they will turn on to residents and will tax them.
Expect to see new properties being built at 89,999 sq. ft.
Read that wrong. Expect new developments to be built at 24,999 sq. ft.
Amazon must have thought they had the Krazy Kouncil beat when the city dropped the local hiring rule. Then the Kouncil put this tax before the votes. Now Amazon realizes it was a bad move to go to EPA.