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By Harrison Jacobs

Amazon’s decision in 2007 to locate its headquarters in downtown Seattle has transformed the city in its image.

As the global e-commerce giant has grown from 5,000 employees in the city to more than 40,000, a flurry of development has followed.

The sea of parking lots, warehouses, motels, and car rental agencies that made up Seattle’s South Lake Union and Denny Triangle has become gleaming skyscrapers, luxury rental towers, tech offices, and restaurants.

Using Google Street View’s Time Machine feature, we collected before and after pictures to show just how radically the neighborhoods have been remade in a decade.

This is the corner of 6th Ave and Virginia Street in Denny Triangle in 2007. It is now the heart of Amazon’s urban campus.

This is the corner of 6th Ave and Virginia Street in Denny Triangle in 2007. It is now the heart of Amazon's urban campus.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

The building on the right is Amazon’s Doppler Tower. Doppler was the internal codename for the Amazon Echo.

The building on the right is Amazon's Doppler Tower. Doppler was the internal codename for the Amazon Echo.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Denny Triangle and South Lake Union were once full of empty parking lots, car rental agencies, motels, industrial buildings, and warehouses. This is 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street.

Denny Triangle and South Lake Union were once full of empty parking lots, car rental agencies, motels, industrial buildings, and warehouses. This is 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

This intersection continues to be remade. On the right is Amazon’s Day 1 Tower, the first floor of which is Amazon Go, the company’s cashier-less grocery store concept. On the left, construction is underway for another Amazon office tower.

This intersection continues to be remade. On the right is Amazon's Day 1 Tower, the first floor of which is Amazon Go, the company's cashier-less grocery store concept. On the left, construction is underway for another Amazon office tower.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Westlake Avenue is the main thoroughfare of South Lake Union. Development had already begun by 2007 in the area.

Westlake Avenue is the main thoroughfare of South Lake Union. Development had already begun by 2007 in the area.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

By last September, several new office and residential towers had been completed. Amazon isn’t the only company driving development. The Paul Allen-owned company Vulcan owns much of the area’s real estate and has spurred construction.

By last September, several new office and residential towers had been completed. Amazon isn't the only company driving development. The Paul Allen-owned company Vulcan owns much of the area's real estate and has spurred construction.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

The city of Seattle has long wanted to turn South Lake Union into a new business district. The $200 million mixed-use development housing Whole Foods was completed in 2006 by Vulcan.

The city of Seattle has long wanted to turn South Lake Union into a new business district. The $200 million mixed-use development housing Whole Foods was completed in 2006 by Vulcan.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Source: Vulcan Real Estate

As one of the first parts of South Lake Union to be developed, this particular intersection hasn’t changed much in the last decade.

As one of the first parts of South Lake Union to be developed, this particular intersection hasn't changed much in the last decade.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

There’s still tons of areas in the neighborhood that are currently being developed. Fairview Avenue on the eastern side of South Lake Union was untouched even in 2011.

There's still tons of areas in the neighborhood that are currently being developed. Fairview Avenue on the eastern side of South Lake Union was untouched even in 2011.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

But by last year, it has largely been developed. Swedish developer Skanska built the 13-story tower on the right. It combines 320,000 square-feet of office space with 17,000 square-feet of ground-level retail.

But by last year, it has largely been developed. Swedish developer Skanska built the 13-story tower on the right. It combines 320,000 square-feet of office space with 17,000 square-feet of ground-level retail.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Source: Curbed Seattle

Mercer Street has been nicknamed the “Mercer Mess” since development of South Lake Union began. It connects downtown Seattle to Interstate 5, the main route for commuters. Construction and an influx of new commuters has turned it into a traffic nightmare.

Mercer Street has been nicknamed the "Mercer Mess" since development of South Lake Union began. It connects downtown Seattle to Interstate 5, the main route for commuters. Construction and an influx of new commuters has turned it into a traffic nightmare.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Source: GeekWire

On the right is Amazon’s Nessie building. Vulcan is currently developing four new buildings for Google on Mercer.

On the right is Amazon's Nessie building. Vulcan is currently developing four new buildings for Google on Mercer.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Source: Vulcan Real Estate

This is Republican Street and 9th Ave in 2007. The intersection still has the area’s signature low-slung industrial buildings.

This is Republican Street and 9th Ave in 2007. The intersection still has the area's signature low-slung industrial buildings.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Now the street is flanked by Amazon’s Nessie and Brazil buildings. The shuttle on the right is one of Amazon’s buses to ferry employees to and from far-out suburbs. Unlike other companies, Amazon has kept the shuttles white and without signage.

Now the street is flanked by Amazon's Nessie and Brazil buildings. The shuttle on the right is one of Amazon's buses to ferry employees to and from far-out suburbs. Unlike other companies, Amazon has kept the shuttles white and without signage.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Development had just begun on corner of Thomas and Terry Street in 2007.

Development had just begun on corner of Thomas and Terry Street in 2007.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Amazon’s Arizona and Ruby office buildings now sit on the block. Ruby is home to a few restaurants, like Cactus and Brave Horse Tavern, on the ground floor.

Amazon's Arizona and Ruby office buildings now sit on the block. Ruby is home to a few restaurants, like Cactus and Brave Horse Tavern, on the ground floor.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Though Vulcan had already completed the Whole Foods on Westlake in 2007, the rest of the avenue looked more like this.

Though Vulcan had already completed the Whole Foods on Westlake in 2007, the rest of the avenue looked more like this.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Now the block has a Umqua Bank, a Homegrown sandwich shop, a Chipotle, and a few other businesses. Amazon occupies the upper floors of the building.

Now the block has a Umqua Bank, a Homegrown sandwich shop, a Chipotle, and a few other businesses. Amazon occupies the upper floors of the building.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

This is the same block, viewed from the other direction. You can see that some construction was underway on Westlake in 2007.

This is the same block, viewed from the other direction. You can see that some construction was underway on Westlake in 2007.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

In 2017, the neighborhood looks practically brand new. On the left are Amazon offices. The office of Sellen Construction, which has developed numerous projects in the area, is on the right.

In 2017, the neighborhood looks practically brand new. On the left are Amazon offices. The office of Sellen Construction, which has developed numerous projects in the area, is on the right.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Syndicated from BusinessInsider.com

By Matt Day

Ten years ago Thursday, December 21st, Amazon announced it would move to South Lake Union, consolidating the company’s growing footprint into an 11-building campus and abandoning the former hospital building on Beacon Hill that the company had called home.

Amazon’s SLU campus in 2007. Photo credit: Tom Reese / The Seattle Times

City planners estimated Amazon might have 6,000 employees there by the time the campus would be finished in 2011.

That prediction would fall short by a third, and it wouldn’t be the last time people underestimated the scale of Amazon’s ambitions.

Today, the company has come to dominate the neighborhood and much of the face of the city itself, employing more  than 40,000 people in Seattle, spread over 37 offices. The company is  planning to add at least that many people to a second headquarters city after selecting a separate and “equal” home next year.

But before Amazon moved into South Lake Union, Paul Allen’s Vulcan had to bag an increase in the neighborhood’s height limits.

It was an open secret that Amazon was shopping for a new home, and that Vulcan’s megaproject for its South Lake Union real estate holdings had a very specific tenant in mind.

One area of debate was how much in affordable housing and other impact fees to tack onto the development. Then-city councilmember Peter Steinbrueck warned that the city planned to offer Vulcan a discount to standard rates, and said the plan was inappropriate given an ongoing housing crisis.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s editorial board raised concerns about carving out exceptions to city code for a single company or project, a warning that could seem out of fashion today as some municipalities offer Amazon billions of dollars to lure its second headquarters.

“The city’s unseemly questions seem to have been: How high should we jump?” the editorial read, weeks before Amazon’s announcement. “And how soon?”

Deputy mayor Tim Ceis warned that the big target tenant “could move out of Seattle to a suburban alternative” if the city’s demands were too high.

Jeff Bezos, whether the city knew it or not, had no such plans. The Amazon founder and chief executive had committed to Seattle, deputizing his real estate group to find a new, long-term home within the city.

The deal announced on Dec. 21, 2007 to bring Amazon to South Lake Union included $6.4 million in affordable housing and other fees, or about $1.2 million less than Steinbrueck estimated would have been owed if Vulcan had built the same development downtown.

 City officials and the real estate industry heralded the news as a milestone in the redevelopment of the district of low-slung, light industrial and commercial concerns.

“I think it’s a statement about the coming of age of South Lake Union,” David Yuan of architectural firm NBBJ told the Seattle Times. “South Lake Union is now a legitimate business address.”

And, lest we think gridlock is a modern phenomenon, even a decade ago some worried about getting around.

“I think it’s probably a good thing,” a citizen told KING 5 news. Still, “I don’t know what it will do to the traffic.”

Syndicated from The Seattle Times.

By Megan Hill

Upscale beer-bar chain Henry’s Tavern, whose first Seattle outpost has been a go-to for pre- and post-game revelry thanks to its location near Safeco Field, opens a new location in South Lake Union today with a smaller footprint and grab-and-go options for breakfast and lunch.

Henry’s SLU spot sits on the ground floor of an Amazon office tower at 501 Fairview Avenue N. This bar isn’t as big as the sprawling SoDo spot, but there are still 50 beers on tap and a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and wok dishes. For those who dine in, there are also 16 televisions for watching sports, a shuffleboard table, and a happy hour with 10 discounted plates.

The grab-and-go counter will be open Monday through Friday at breakfast and lunch with coffee, soda, juice, and snacks like energy bars and yogurt. Lighter fare like a pear, walnut, and prosciutto salad, protein power bowl, and crab and avocado roll are also available. This Henry’s location fills crowlers (can-growlers) to go, too.

Henry’s Tavern got its start in downtown Portland; other branches are located at the Portland International Airport, in Denver, and in Plano, Texas. The SoDo location opened in 2013, and a Bellevue location followed this past August as part of the massive Lincoln Square expansion.

Syndicated from Eater Seattle.

By Mike Lindblom

A common theme emerged Tuesday, as a state commission launched its toll-rate talks for Highway 99:

Keep the rates down, so drivers choose to use the new tunnel under downtown Seattle, rather than clog other roads.

Tolls might begin March 1, 2019, ranging from $1 overnight to a top rate of $2.50 for an afternoon-commute trip between Sodo and South Lake Union, under one leading option.

Members of the media walk in what will be an area below the northbound deck of the Highway 99 tunnel during a tour on Nov. 2, 2017. The tunnel is expected to be open in January 2019. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Highway 99 tunnel tolls

Here’s one leading option. Tolls would vary by time of day, as on the 520 bridge. The lower the price, the fewer drivers would divert onto crowded surface streets, state officials assume.

  • • Overnight and weekends: $1
  • • Weekday mornings 5-6 a.m., midday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and weekday evenings 6-11 p.m., $1.50
  • • Morning peak weekdays, 6-9 a.m., $1.75
  • • Afternoon peak weekdays, 3-6 p.m., $2.50

Source: Washington State Transportation Commission

At prices like those, the misery of alternate commuting streets will outweigh the price of tolls, an adviser told the Washington State Transportation Commission.

“You’re not seeing a lot of traffic moving out of the tunnel, because the trip is worth it, because of the time savings,” said Steve Abendschein, senior planner for the Stantec consulting firm.

Instead, he predicted an “oscillating” pattern for travel demand.

Tolls rise for the afternoon peaks. Drivers divert. Downtown streets clog. Other drivers arrive and choose the quicker tunnel.

Commissioners won’t decide the toll rates until September 2018, after meetings and public hearings. State lawmakers delegated the thankless job of setting toll rates to the transportation commission, an appointed board.

Tunnel tolls are required by the state Legislature, to repay $200 million of construction bonds. Lawmakers in 2009 initially set the toll goal at $400 million, but then retreated in 2012 when they realized how unrealistic their numbers were.

Tolls would also cover $5 million a year in the tunnel’s maintenance and utilities costs, a state chart released Tuesday shows. The overhead cost of collecting tolls, roughly $8 million a year, could use up more than one-fourth of the income.

To avoid a mobility disaster, the state is certain to leave cash on the table.

If maximum income were the sole aim, tolls would reach $6.80 in afternoon peak, according to Stantec.

Years ago, Ron Paananen, former Highway 99 administrator, guessed the top rate would wind up somewhere between $2.40 and $4.

At the peak rate of around $2.50, most diversion to surface streets or I-5 would happen midday, because peak diversion is barely possible, said Abendschein. An earlier chart this spring showed about 51,800 vehicles using the tunnel per weekday in this scenario — which is 4,400 fewer than if the maximum rate were only $1.25. Some people would cancel their trips or use transit.

Commissioners discussed other minor variations, such as free overnight or weekend drives.

Some of Tuesday’s discussion revolved around trucks, which would make up an expected 7 percent of traffic in a toll-free road. Some members want rates that encourage freight to use the tunnel.

An overall $200 million toll contribution represents a mere fraction of the overall $3.2 billion replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The state might wind up spending more, if lawsuits go badly with contractors who want $600 million in extra payment for delays and overruns.

Retired state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, told commissioners to suspect that the state would inflate its costs to maintain and operate the tunnel systems, and he questioned whether tolls will actually support the $200 million target, based on his observations at Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

During the 2019 tunnel startup, central Seattle will be choking on other construction, he added. The projects include a waterfront boulevard rebuild, a First Avenue streetcar, bus detours and a convention-center expansion.

“The tunnel is going to create a mess. The people are not ready. The facilities are not ready,” he said.

Seaquist urged commissioners to speak up about that.

Syndicated from The Seattle Times.

By Zosha Millman

As the world awaits Amazon’s HQ2 decision, many pundits and pontificaters have turned their eyes to Seattle in order to better understand the footprint Amazon might have on a city. But it isn’t as simple as just looking.

Seattle has changed a lot in the years since the web’s biggest bookseller opened up shop here. In many ways it’s shaped the city Seattle has become, but not in quantifiable ways: What would Seattle housing look like without Amazon bolstering the local economy? What would South Lake Union be?

And even though Amazon has wormed its way into plenty of building nooks and crannies throughout the city, the company has been tight-lipped about exactly how much real estate they’ve taken on. Over 40,000 employees work throughout the city, but it’s hard to know exactly where they’re all punching the clock.

Commercial real estate firms in towns have pretty good guesses. And now, BuildZoom has stepped in to try to assess how much space Amazon takes up in the city – and it’s pretty astounding.

Using the BuildZoom’s National Building Permit Repository, the firm reports more than $1.9 billion in Seattle metro area building permits have been filed for Amazon-occupied office space since the company moved to South Lake Union.

That spans nearly 13.6 million square feet across the Seattle metro area, and includes 45 structures in Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle and Bellevue.Since Amazon’s big move to the South Lake Union area in 2007, over $1.9 billion in building permits have been filed for Amazon-occupied office space in the Seattle metro area, which spans nearly 13.6 million feet, according to BuildZoom. Photo: BuildZoom

Photo: BuildZoom

According to the report, about $1.8 billion of that was in building permits to date, with the remaining $120 million spent on tenant improvements for leased office spaces.

BuildZoom includes a breakdown of individual blocks and chunks of the campus: The initial South Lake Union cluster of 10 buildings (first developed by Vulcan Real Estate and sold for $1.16 billion in 2012) cost about $450 million in permits. Block 19 in the Denny Triangle neighborhood cost over $650 million in permits alone.

And that’s all before new parcel development hit the scene.

All in all, it’s enough to fill the Empire State Building five times over and the Columbia Center more than eight times.

So what does that mean for HQ2? 

In short, the campus is likely to have a greater impact in a smaller metro.

“A campus of this magnitude will not be easy for any city to accommodate except for the very largest,” BuildZoom’s Chief Economist, Dr. Issi Romem, said.

“Amazon will likely build new office buildings, as it did in Seattle, but will likely also snap up significant square footage in existing office space, especially in its earlier stages of growth. Amazon will likely reduce vacancy rates, crowd out other tenants, and drive up office rents, especially in the short run. In the longer run, Amazon will expand the office supply and, more generally, help deepen the talent pool.”

Ten years from now, it may be a whole new world, just like Seattle.

By Chelsea Lin

Cascade Coffee Works is now making sweet latte art in South Lake Union.

The new softly open location of Seattle Coffee Works—the “by the people, for the people” neighborhood coffee shop—is not a sellout. Yes, it’s at Amazon’s doorstep, and you’ll likely line up for a morning cup with many a blue-badged employee from the high-rise offices upstairs.

But owner Sebastian Simsch is quick to point out that Cascade Coffee Works (as this location is known)—housed in the new building that incorporates the 1927 corner brick facade of Troy Laundry, just blocks from a P-Patch and community center—is part of the historic Cascade neighborhood, which has been doing its own thing long before South Lake Union all but swallowed it up.

Now, with ongoing construction, it’s simply a neighborhood in transition. And that transition provides a blank slate for Simsch and his team, who have built three successful coffee shops around the city, each with a distinct character that caters to the surrounding ’hood’s needs. Ballard Coffee Works has a kids’ play space and lots of food options. Capitol Coffee Works has an experimental flare—particularly in the treatment of coffee as fruit—and is open later. What will the Cascade shop look like? Simsch said he wasn’t not sure yet when we spoke earlier this year.

A bigger kitchen provides some creative liberty when it comes to food (right now, they’re planning to sell Standard Bakery pastries, Sunshine breakfast tacos and house-made sandwiches for lunch); more fridge space allows for lots of cold brew coffee and happy-hour beers; immediate access to the “coffee geek” young professionals means brewing classes and weekly tastings. Shots will be poured from a custom Seattle-made Synesso MVP espresso maker.

But that’s just the beginning. Simsch says he’s open to creating whatever the neighborhood wants. As he’s worked to bridge the gap between the coffee pickers who “live on $1 a day” and the $4 latte drinkers here in Seattle, he’s hoping this new location, which has its grand opening November 8, will act as an equalizer—where the neighborhood’s homeless population, tech employees and residential families can meet eye to eye over a cup of directly sourced, environmentally responsible coffee.

Will his plan work? “We’ll see,” Simsch says.

Cascade Coffee Works
1130 Thomas St.; 206.340.8867

Syndicated from SeattleMag.com.

By Nat Levy

Real estate company Seco Development plans to to fund a water taxi pilot project to ferry passengers across Lake Washington, between Seattle’s tech-heavy South Lake Union neighborhood and the developer’s massive office project in the city of Renton, Wash., GeekWire has learned.

Seco is taking the lead in planning as well as funding the pilot project, which aims to put passenger ferries on Lake Washington by 2020. For the better part of the year, Seco has been talking with King County, the cities of Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, Kenmore and others, as well as local business interests about the service. Though the initial focus is on a route between Renton and Amazon’s backyard of South Lake Union, Seco envisions routes to other parts of Seattle as well as cities like Bellevue.

“In our rapidly growing region it is essential that we have a variety of transportation options,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a statement. “That is why I am encouraged when businesses like Seco get involved by creating innovative solutions like a water taxi.”

Seco is building a triumvirate of office towers designed for tech companies totaling approximately 730,000 square feet in Renton, right next door to Boeing’s factory, as part of its Southport project, which also includes a completed apartment project and hotel. A water taxi that drops off at the front door of Southport is sure to be a draw to tech giants that might otherwise balk at the location several miles, and plenty of traffic jams, from the traditional tech hotspots in Seattle and Bellevue.

Rocale Timmons, Seco’s director of planning and development and a former senior planner with the city of Renton, told GeekWire that the service will surely boost Southport, but the company looks at the project as a regional attraction that provides a new transportation alternative as well.

“Certainly establishing passenger service on Lake Washington would benefit the employer that makes Southport home and obviously benefits the city of Renton, however, there are 1 million plus people who either live or work in a three mile radius of the lake,” Timmons said.

Seco Development’s Southport campus on the banks of Lake Washington with the Seattle Skyline in the background. (Seco Development Rendering)

The 2020 start date could be just a few months after the final phase of the office project is done.

The water taxi project is still in early phases, so details like timing, capacity, funding, frequency, pricing and stops have yet to be decided, Timmons said. The company is considering 149-passenger catamarans similar to Kitsap Transit’s new fast ferry.

Seco is planning to arm the boats with amenities sure to please commuters, such as high speed internet, bike storage, standing desks and the ability to order coffee and snacks via smartphone. Seco doesn’t want to focus purely on commuters, and the service will likely have an entertainment and tourism element as well.

Seco’s project is reminiscent of the “Mosquito Fleet,” an armada of steam ships that ferried people and resources around the region for decades back in the late 1800s to the mid 1900s. Government authorities have explored bringing back a “foot ferry” system several times in recent years, but it had never come to pass.

Seco has grander ambitions in Renton than just its Southport project. It is in talks with the city and several nearby property owners to assemble land for several million more square feet of office space. The Southport site, along with adjacent land in Renton, was actually a part of the regional proposal to keep Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

“There’s approximately 700 acres in Renton that we believe is underdeveloped, and we’ve been working with the city to identify those sites that could accommodate these larges swatches of office spaces, especially given all the other infrastructure improvements coming into the area,” Timmons said.

Syndicated from GeekWire.com

By Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Two dozen people zigzag through Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, footsteps crunching on pavement and gravel. A local blog called The Urbanist organized the tour about the history of this neighborhood — the location of Amazon’s first headquarters.

In a few years, the view around HQ1 has morphed from low-slung warehouses to tall, modern apartment buildings and cranes that poke out of construction sites around every bend.

“It looks like a millennial paradise,” said Seattle resident Anthony Bridgewater, who took the tour.

Cities across North America are sending their best pitches to Amazon to host the company’s second headquarters. Seattle is among the cities making a bid, but the city’s residents are split between those who are wringing their hands over the company’s possible expansion in a different location, and those who say “no thanks.”

Seattle’s recent changes are dizzying. Just two metrics: in 10 years, the population has increased over 20 percent and the median home price has increased around 50 percent to $730,000.

The region is home to a lot of Fortune 500 companies, all driving growth, though Amazon is Seattle’s largest employer.

Pam Carter has lived in Seattle for decades. She and her husband recently moved across town after selling to developers who put up a five-story apartment building.

“Our house no longer exists,” she said. The tour passes one high rise. Carter remembers when it went up. “You suddenly couldn’t see the Olympic Mountains. And I hated that,” Carter said. Sometimes she gets lost without landmarks­­­ in sight, she said.

Terry Franguiadakis moved to Seattle in the ’90s.

“We felt like it was an empty city,” he said. “There was a lot of parking lots. It was kind of desolate.” Now it gets more vibrant every year, he said, with good restaurants, people living in the city and milling around the streets. “I think it’s great,” Franguiadakis said.

But, the city wasn’t prepared for the boom, especially not in the housing market, said Ethan Phelps-Goodman with the organization Seattle Tech 4 Housing.

Amazon’s next host should get ready quickly, so low- and middle-income people don’t get priced out, he said.

“You’re going to need to build abundant housing to go along with all those jobs that are going to stream in, not just for the Amazon employees, but for the restaurant workers, and the baristas, and the security guards, and the many, many jobs that will be created by all the new wealth,” Phelps-Goodman said.

According to Amazon, the company’s presence is a boon to Seattle’s economy, and the company gives back to the local community through philanthropy and volunteering.

The company will announce the location of its second headquarters next year.

Syndicated from Marketplace.org

By Sarah Anne Lloyd

As Amazon expands their campus downtown—and looks to expand into other cities—they’re still gaining office space in South Lake Union. The latest project to house Amazon offices in the neighborhood, the Troy Building, officially opened last week.

 

Located between Boren and Fairview avenues and Harrison and Thomas streets, the complex includes two towers, one 12-story and the other 13-story, connected by a lower-rise building. The design by architecture firm Perkins+Will incorporates two historic buildings. The first is the project’s namesake, the 1927 Troy Laundry Building, a two-story Beaux Arts structure declared a Seattle landmark in 1996. The second, the Boren Investment Building, is a 1938 warehouse declared a landmark in 2011, just as plans solidified for the Troy Block.

The original buildings are clear from a distance, with the original rooflines and ornamentation preserved. Up close, the brickwork and original window style add a historic touch.

From the top: The façade of the Troy Laundry building between the north and south towers. The reception area of the south building. A flexible seating area in the north building. A meeting area in the north tower.

In addition to the 817,000 square feet that’s going to Amazon offices, the project includes five restaurants by Farestart, a nonprofit that provides job training to people struggling with homelessness, addiction, poverty, or a criminal record.

From the top: The interior of Rise Café by Farestart. Farestart’s Community Table.  The exterior of Maslow’s by Farestart.

The project was started by Seattle-based developer Touchstone, who was purchased by another local developer, Urban Renaissance Group, in 2014.

This massive uptick in office space comes soon after Amazon’s announcement that they’d be taking over all the office space in Seattle’s soon-to-be second-tallest skyscraper, the Rainier Tower. To the north, construction is still underway expanding Amazon’s massive campus surrounding the new Day One building—and the spheres.

Syndicated from Seattle Curbed.

Travellers heading between Seattle and Vancouver could soon shorten their journey, with direct flights between the cities’ downtown cores planned to take off next year.

The service will be run by Vancouver’s Harbour Air and Washington State-based Kenmore Air will include four daily flights between Coal Harbour and Lake Union.

Kenmore Air already offers direct flights between the Seattle lake airport and Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

The proposed Vancouver-Seattle flight path has been nicknamed the “nerd bird” because it links the growing high-tech sectors of both cities. If approved, the new route could begin as early as spring 2018.

In an interview at the Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Seattle, Microsoft president Brad Smith said he’s hopeful for regular seaplane service between the cities within the next year.

“Frankly there was little reason not to have it in place this year,” he told The Canadian Press.

“I think it’s not unreasonable to say we need to move faster in getting that done.”

Smith said he also hopes a plan to build a high-speed train between the cities will come to fruition. Microsoft donated US$50,000 to a feasibility study commissioned by Washington State.

Vancouver’s Microsoft Canada office currently employs 800 workers, and Smith said he sees continuing opportunities for growth north of the border.

He added it “makes sense” for Vancouver to make an effort to woo Amazon.com, based in Seattle and currently looking for a location for its second headquarters.

Syndicated from bc.ctvnews.ca