Amazon continues swift growth in Austin

Seattle-based has quietly grown its Austin corporate offices since opening in the Domain area in the summer of 2015, more than doubling its Central Texas workforce to 350 and on the hunt for more.

The online retail giant has more than 100 openings for positions at its Austin offices, which includes two floors of the Domain 7 building at 11501 Alterra Parkway, since moving there more than a year ago, said Terry Leeper, general manager of Amazon Austin.

“That’s some real growth,” Leeper said during a media tour showing off the company’s Austin digs. “That’s pretty nice.”

Many of the positions are tech-related and connected to developing Amazon’s online presence to its customers all over the world, Leeper said. He suggested more jobs could be on the way as the company’s Austin office operations increasingly take on the role as Amazon’s Texas headquarters.

A check of Amazon’s Austin job website Monday showed more than 175 openings in the region.

The job growth comes in the wake of a 2012 deal between the state and Amazon that required the company to begin collecting sales tax on purchases made from Texas.

As part of the deal, Amazon said it would create 2,500 jobs in Texas and invest $200 million in the state by 2014.

In the summer of 2015, the Internet retailer said it had more than 3,500 employees in Texas and made more than $300 million in capital investment in the state, according to documents filed with the state comptroller’s office.

With the growth of the Austin office and the addition of an Amazon fulfillment center in San Marcos slated to hire 1,000 workers, the company’s Texas employee will easily exceed the 10,000-worker mark this year, according to the company.

Leeper, a former Texas resident who went to work for Amazon in Seattle five years ago after working with Microsoft, says he was bullish on building Amazon’s operations in Texas.

“I went to my boss and said ‘We need to expand anyway, why don’t you let me go down to Texas and build out a big team for you?’” Leeper said. “I brought in the data on how attractive Austin is and the tech talent and the big universities here. It was kind of a no brainer.”

Leeper says he and his wife were anxious to return to Texas, where he grew up and attended Texas A&M University and remains involved with the school’s computer science department.

“Seattle views Austin as really, really positively,” Leeper said. “They’ve been very, very happy with how we’ve grown, how we’ve developed, who we’ve hired. So it’s been a really great experience.”

Amazon Austin went over the 100-employee benchmark by the time the company moved into its Domain space last year before reaching 350 workers today, Leeper said.

“The one in Austin is the big corporate office” for Texas, Leeper said. “We can think big here.”

The Amazon Austin offices have a modern and spacious look similar to its Seattle home, but with local touches.

Along a space of open office spaces, dozens of smaller conference rooms and some break areas loaded with games, there are University of Texas and Texas A&M banners.

A worker cafeteria features metallic touches with picnic table seating overlooking the latest additions nearby, such as the new Nordstrom Domain Northside slated to open later this month.

The site is Amazon’s largest corporate presence in Texas. The company also has a smaller office in Dallas.

“Some of this looks like Seattle’s offices, but we ”Texanized’ it, ‘Austinized’ it,” Leeper said.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include new Texas employment information from Amazon

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