Mary’s Place will occupy roughly 6 stories of Amazon’s new building on right.  Rendering: Graphite

Amid concerns about the rapidly rising cost of living in Seattle, rising housing costs and urban expansion often top the list. According to this news article, Seattle could possibly be the 9th most expensive city in the world to be a renter. Meaning it might actually be less expensive to rent an apartment in Paris, France (which also made the list) than in our city.

Mary’s Place currently occupies a former Travelodge motel on Amazon’s site.  Photo: Evan McGlinn/NY Times

Homelessness, along with this higher cost of living, has increased significantly here, as people find themselves in precarious life situations, and sometimes end up without a home. Mary’s Place is one local organization that provides safety and shelter for women, children and families. They also help people get back on their feet through meals, clean clothing, and social/financial/medical and employment services.

Amazon recently made a permanent commitment to Mary’s Place by pledging that the non-profit will be able to utilize six stories in one of two, new buildings to be built by the mega internet retail/cloud computing company on their current South Lake Union property. Plans are to open officially in the year 2020. Amazon will be providing the space rent-free for Mary’s Place, which currently occupies a former motel on the site, and will pay the utilities as well. The new space will provide an additional 10,000 square feet more than what the shelter currently has.

Amazon also recently made a commitment to FareStart, which give opportunities to people in the food industry, including job training. They will be providing significant space on their campus for 5 different types of FareStart eateries.

Rendering courtesy of

In a city rife with homelessness, donating space to carry out essential social service functions and job training may be a step in the right direction.


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