Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon and space company Blue Origin, announced in an Instagram post on Thursday night that he is moving from Seattle to Miami after nearly 30 years on the West Coast.
Bezos Drawn to Miami’s Emerging Tech Influence
The move signifies the rise of Miami as one of America’s hottest new tech and cultural hubs, as money, power and people spread beyond traditional coastal bubbles in the post-COVID remote work era.
“I want to be close to my parents, and Lauren and I love Miami,” Bezos wrote to his 4.1 million Instagram followers. He also noted that Blue Origin operations are shifting more to Cape Canaveral, home of their space launch facilities.
Bezos recently paid $79 million for a waterfront mansion in Miami’s exclusive Indian Creek area, known as the “Billionaire Bunker,” after buying a neighboring property for $68 million.
Miami has become an attractive resettlement spot for tech leaders and investors seeking lower taxes, warmer weather, and a more vibrant social scene. Other billionaires also establishing roots in Miami include hedge fund titan Ken Griffin and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Departure Ends Era in Seattle
The announcement closes the chapter on Bezos’ long association with Seattle and the early days of Amazon.
Bezos moved to Seattle in 1994 after identifying it as an ideal location to launch his then-online bookstore startup, which has since grown into one of the world’s most valuable companies.
He shared a throwback photo of Amazon’s first modest office in Seattle, complete with his cluttered desk, a server, and an orange extension cord running across the floor.
“Blue Origin’s operations are increasingly shifting to Cape Canaveral,” Bezos noted in his post, referring to his private space company which operates launch facilities in Florida.
While Amazon is still headquartered in Seattle, the company has vastly expanded its physical footprint across the U.S., lessening the ties to its Pacific Northwest origins.
Miami Pulls In Tech Leaders
Bezos is the latest in a series of tech leaders and investors moving to the Miami area, drawn by its warm climate, hip cultural scene, and lower taxes compared to traditional coastal hubs like San Francisco and New York.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin rattled the Chicago business community last year when he moved the headquarters of Citadel Enterprises to Miami from Chicago.
Griffin cited crime and political tensions as reasons for departing Illinois in favor of sunny South Florida. Citadel’s new global headquarters building in Miami’s Brickell financial district opens next year.
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and Alphabet, has been accumulating multiple properties on Miami’s Sunset Islands in recent years, spending over $100 million for waterfront homes.
Other notable tech figures who’ve established residences in the Miami area include venture capitalist Keith Rabois, Shutterstock founder Jonathan Oringer, and Founders Fund partner Keith Rabois.
The pandemic acceleration of remote work enabled more tech workers and entrepreneurs to decamp traditional hubs for warm weather locales across the Sun Belt region. But Miami has emerged as a particularly desirable landing spot given its cosmopolitan amenities, beaches, dining, and arts scene.
With Bezos, Griffin and Schmidt anchoring multi-billion dollar enterprises in the region, Miami’s status as a rising tech hub and magnet for investment seems firmly cemented. The magic city appears poised to give traditional tech hubs some major competition in the years ahead.