Amazon is setting down more roots in Illinois.
The e-commerce giant announced it has expanded the size of its corporate office in Chicago to over 35,000 square feet, which can accommodate up to 400 employees. 200 employees currently work at the office, located at 227 W Monroe St, in advertising, operations, sales and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The next hires will be building on those same teams said Samantha Singer, a commercial sales leader for AWS and general manager at the Chicago office. Currently there are 58 open jobs in Chicago, ranging from a cloud architect position to an advertising sales manager, to a part-time retail job at a kiosk at Orland Square Mall.
“We know that Chicagoans are really a great fit for Amazon,” Singer said in a press conference. “Chicago works hard, plays hard, and looks to make history. We look to hire and develop the best, invent and simplify on behalf of our customers.”
“The talent here is absolutely amazing, and building and scaling and growing this business has been really fun,” she added to Chicago Inno. Singer, who was the fourth employee in the office when it opened in 2016, said the office will both be recruiting locally as well as transferring Amazon employees who are originally from the area and are looking to move back.
Amazon also has a Prime Now hub on Goose Island, a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Lakeview, and pickup locations at the University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with an additional pickup location opening near DePaul this fall. The e-commerce giant will also have nine fulfillment centers open by the end of the year.
Amazon says it expects to have 8,000 full-time employees in Illinois by the end of 2018.
The press conference also included remarks from a handful of local business and political leaders. Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted the move as underscoring Chicago’s reputation as a tech hub, and Senator Dick Durbin applauded Amazon’s cooperation in online sales tax legislation and growth in distribution center jobs. Andrea Sreshta, cofounder of LuminAID, a series of portable solar-powered lights for disaster relief and outdoors enthusiasts (funded on Shark Tank in 2015), said her startup’s Amazon revenue is up threefold this year as compared to last year.
Amazon also announced the Chicago office made a donation of $10,000 to Code Platoon, the Chicago-based code bootcamp for veterans. Employees from the Chicago office will also be volunteering with Code Platoon moving forward, and it comes amidst an Amazon initiative to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021 and train 10,000 more in cloud computing. Code Platoon founder Rod Levy said the money will enable the code bootcamp to provide 80 hours of code instruction to six veterans.
“We want to fill that tech pipeline with veterans who are well-trained,” Levy said. “Amazon has not only supported us financially, but they’ve also offered us career counseling services, use of their space and hopefully over time will find ways to get our developers in their pipeline as well.”
This was the first time that Amazon opened the doors to its corporate office, which it opened in 2016. Singer said the 35,000 square-foot-space was designed by local architects, with Chicago-inspired touches such as exposed painted pipes meant to mimic the L tracks and conference rooms named after Chicago neighborhoods.
Take a look inside Amazon’s expanded office.
Note: The story is updated to reflect the correct the spelling of Rod Levy’s name.