Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon out of his Seattle garage in 1994 and invested billions of dollars in turning the city into a tech boomtown, said Thursday he is leaving his home of three decades and moving to Miami.
Bezos, 59, announced the move in an Instagram post Thursday night. He said his parents had recently moved back to Miami, where he attended high school, and that he wanted to be closer to them and his partner, Lauren Sanchez.
Another factor, he said, is that the operations of his rocket company, Blue Origin, are increasingly shifting to Cape Canaveral, Fla., just over 200 miles by road north of Miami on the state’s Atlantic coast.
Bloomberg News reported last month that Mr. Bezos had bought a South Florida mansion for $79 million, a few months after he bought one next door for $68 million. Mr. Bezos is worth $161 billion, making him the third-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg.
Mr Bezos said in his Instagram post that he had “amazing memories” of Seattle and had lived there longer than anywhere else. “As exciting as this move is, it is an emotional decision for me,” he wrote. “Seattle, you will always have a piece of my heart.”
A short video that Mr. Bezos posted with his announcement on Instagram showed him giving a tour of Amazon’s first office, a modest affair based in his Seattle garage. The room has several giant white computers, a dry-erase board covered in writing, and a fax machine perched atop a gray filing cabinet.
“See that big orange extension cord?” a young Mr. Bezos, clad in jeans and in good spirits, says at one point to the cameraman, his father. “This is one of the facilities that we have to have because there is not enough energy in this room. So we have to bring in extra circuit breakers.”
“And, uh, that’s it,” he says at the end of the video, over the sound of a dog barking. “It doesn’t take long to tour the offices of Amazon-dot-com Inc.”
It wasn’t immediately clear late Thursday how the people of Seattle or Miami felt about his move.
As Amazon has grown into an e-commerce colossus over the years, becoming the world’s largest retailer outside of China in 2021, it has poured billions of dollars into Seattle’s economy and helped change its global reputation.
But Amazon has faced pushback from workers and regulators over its labor practices and corporate tactics. And Mr. Bezos, who owns The Washington Post and the world’s largest sailing yacht, among other things, has many detractors in Seattle and beyond.
While Mr. Bezos’ move to Miami may come as a surprise to some, it is hardly unique. In fact, it may arrive fashionably late. In early 2021, less than a year after the coronavirus pandemic upended the daily lives of millions of Americans, The New York Times reported on the rush of Silicon Valley techies and Wall Street titans moving to Miami.
At the time, dozens of prominent leaders moved in: Keith Rabois, PayPal co-founder and investor; Peter Thiel, the tech investor and prominent conservative; John Oringer, founder of stock photography provider Shutterstock; Brian Goldberg, the media mogul and many more.
Francis X. Suarez, the city’s mayor, welcomed the newcomers with open arms. The rich and wealthy have long gravitated to Miami to enjoy their wealth and, on weekends, their time on the water. During the pandemic, it was unclear whether these newcomers were just the latest generation to do so, or whether they would indeed build new companies in the city.
Although the rush of the past three years has leveled off, demand remains relatively steady in South Florida, brokers say.