Real Estate

Bellevue house and garage where Jeff Bezos started Amazon up for sale

Back when Bezos was living there in 1994, the house was worth $135,000. Now it’s on the market for nearly $1.5 million.

For a mere $1.49 million, you can now own a big piece of Amazon history.

The West Bellevue house where Jeff Bezos started the company in 1994 went up for sale Monday for the first time in 10 years.

The garage attached to the three-bedroom, 1.75-bath craftsman on N.E. 28th Street was the original Amazon HQ.

John L. Scott, which has the listing, is marketing the 1,540-square-foot house as “a slice of history” and a chance to own the “birthplace of Amazon.” (The listing, like quite a few Seattle-area homes, uses a photoshopped picturesque sky. The photographer also digitally removed snow that was on top of the garage from the recent storms.)

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The 1954-built house was extensively remodeled with a new roof and bathroom in 2001, years after Bezos moved out, and has a modern interior punctuated by a large, open “great room” (basically a connected living room/kitchen) that takes up much of the single-story residence, according to the listing.

The garage itself has also been renovated and likely doesn’t resemble what it looked like when Bezos was there, said the listing agent, Pat Sullivan.

But the big oversized mailbox that Bezos installed to receive lots of big catalogs is still there, Sullivan said.

“I think there’s a good chance an Amazon exec might buy this for bragging rights,” Sullivan said, noting a friend who works at Amazon was going to publish the listing on the company’s internal for-sale site.

The home will be way out of reach for the vast majority of locals — based on typical home sales and mortgage qualifications, it would require a down payment of about $300,000 and then an annual income of about $300,000 a year to afford the mortgage.

If Bezos wanted to buy the house himself, it would cost him only about 0.001 percent of his net worth.

Amazon, like other mega-companies with humble beginnings, has on occasion mentioned the garage origin story but has no official history about it on its website and declined to comment Monday.

But “The Everything Store” book, which chronicles the company’s history, says in reality Amazon was based there “for only a few months.” When it started hiring more people, it moved to a small office in Sodo, and Jeff and (now soon-to-be ex-) wife MacKenzie moved from the house to a Belltown apartment.

Inside the garage, “Bezos built the first two desks out of sixtydollar blond-wood doors from Home Depot, an endeavor that later carried almost biblical significance at Amazon, like Noah building the ark,” the book reads.

Bezos never actually owned the house: He’s now the richest person on earth, with a net worth of $132 billion, but back when he started the company he was renting.

But there’s no doubt he didn’t have to pay today’s exorbitant rent prices: West Bellevue is now the most expensive neighborhood in the region to rent or buy a house. Zillow estimates the house where Amazon was founded would rent now for $4,550 a month.

The home’s price history illustrates how much the area has changed. The year he lived there, the county assessor valued the home at $135,000. After Bezos moved out, it was bought in 1998 for $182,000 — or $281,000 in today’s dollars. It was then sold again in 2009 for $620,000, or $720,000 in today’s dollars.

The current asking price for the former Bezos home is double that — $1,488,888. That actually puts it comfortably below the area’s median home price of about $2 million, and is a bit less than the Zillow and Redfin estimates of the home’s value.

“We didn’t price any of that historical significance into it,” Sullivan said.

Former homes of famous people don’t always get marketed as such — sometimes it’s not clear from the listing that it’s anything more than a regular-old house. In fact, last time the West Bellevue house sold, in 2009, the buyer, a T-Mobile employee at the time, reportedly didn’t know of any Bezos connection until a reporter told him.

Sullivan said the couple who lives there now still shrug off the home’s history as no big deal and only mentioned it in passing after they had come up with the marketing plan for the listing.

“And they said ‘Oh by the way, I don’t know if this would matter at all, but Jeff Bezos used to live here and he started Amazon in the garage,’” he said. “I said, ‘Yes, that would totally matter.’”

Bezos now lives in a waterfront Medina estate valued at $76 million, and The Wall Street Journal reported he also owns the $46 million property next door. He also has several other properties around the country, including in Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills and Texas.

Amazon maintains its main nucleus of over 40 buildings in Seattle but has somewhat gone back to its roots by expanding recently into Bellevue, albeit in shiny new office towers this time.




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