January 26, 2023
Amazon has tapped a Harvard-educated designer with experience in drafting municipal land use policies as its new vice president of worldwide corporate real estate and facilities.
Amazon named Shannon Loew to the position previously held by John Schoettler, who will remain with the company, the Austin Business Journal reported. Loew’s hiring comes as Amazon begins a “years-long transition” that will lead to Schoettler’s eventual retirement, the ABJ reported, citing anonymous sources.
Amazon’s previous real estate director under Schoettler, Patrick Miller — who joined the Seattle giant in 2018 — left at the end of last year and became the senior director of global workplace services for Snap Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile.
Loew founded FIX Impact Development in 2008, a Seattle-based real estate design firm that marries design, policy and strategic management projects, according to his LinkedIn profile. With FIX, Loew focused on helping developers with urban redevelopment projects, helped formulate land use policies for cities, designed construction industry products and launched affordable housing endeavors, according to his LinkedIn page. He was previously chairman of the Seattle Design Commission when Amazon developed its downtown office campus, ABJ reported. Loew received a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Loew’s hiring comes as the online retail giant has been wrestling with a bloated real estate portfolio, especially its warehouse empire, which skyrocketed during the depths of the pandemic.
Last year, Amazon reduced its planned and operational warehouse uses by 30M SF through subleasing warehouse space, canceling leases in exiting older, smaller warehouses or scrapping plans to occupy new deals, according to an analysis by MWPVL and Green Street. MWPVL, which tracks the e-commerce’s real estate moves, found that Amazon still has up to 20% excess industrial capacity in the U.S.
Schoettler is largely credited for growing Amazon’s real estate empire, pushing the office portfolio from 1M SF when he started in 2001 to more than 44M SF across 400 offices in 54 countries.
He was also heavily involved in the Amazon HQ2 process, representing the company in heated community meetings after it chose Arlington, Virginia, and New York City in 2018 as cities in which to build two new headquarters. After months of heavy pushback, Amazon canceled its 25,000-job commitment to Queens. It has since opened huge offices in Manhattan without a public sweepstakes.
Amazon announced earlier this month plans to cut 18,000 jobs, the largest number of layoffs for any of the big tech headcount reductions announced this past year. It is as yet unclear what that entails its vast office footprint — Microsoft, Meta and Salesforce have all announced plans to reduce their real estate footprints alongside their headcounts.