Report: Amazon considering huge land purchase in Seattle

Amazon.com just last year moved into a new headquarters in Seattle’s fast-growing South Lake Union neighborhood. But even that new corporate campus doesn’t appear to be enough to meet the company’s need for more office space.

According to Bloomberg News, Amazon.com is considering the purchase of a portion of a 12-acre parcel in downtown Seattle now owned by Clise Properties. Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, said that the online retailer is in talks to buy a portion of the parcel which sits between downtown Seattle and the company’s new headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Amazon.com has already expanded in that area, taking over space in the West 8th tower located at 8th and Westlake avenues.

We’ve heard rumblings of Amazon’s interest in the area and The Daily Journal of Commerce reported last month that the online retailer was considering the Clise property, a 12.5 acre spread that was first put up for sale in 2007. According to Bloomberg, the Clise family assembled most of the property in the 1920s.

At the time that the land was offered for sale five years ago, The Seattle Times noted that the property had the capacity for as much as 13 million square feet of development over seven blocks and offered the “chance to change Seattle’s skyline.”

The Clise properties include some well known buildings on the north edge of downtown Seattle in an area known as the Denny Triangle. Developed properties in the area include the Westin Building; The Sixth Avenue Inn and 1700 7th Avenue, a 24-story building that was named office building of the year in 2001.

The news comes at a significant time of growth for Amazon.com. The company added 4,900 workers during the fourth quarter, a slower hiring pace than the previous quarter when more than 8,000 workers were added.

Amazon.com now employs more than 56,000 people.

  • Guest

    ‘Clise said he envisions a mix of developments, including
    condominiums, office buildings and hotels. “We’re open to everything,
    from A to Z,” he said …’

    Sounds like back in 2007, Mr. Clise had a certain tenant in mind.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    It’s a bit off the topic here but that employment graph is very interesting to dig into. I’d love to see a story that digs into that more.

    What’s most interesting is the employment growth for Amazon begins really in 3Q09. Google (I assume that’s in the Puget Sound region) in 2Q10.

    The big event that’s not marked on this chart is at Microsoft in 2Q09: the first wave of true layoffs in the company’s history. That marked a real change in the culture there and since then you’ve seen a lot of good MSFT talent on the employment market (both voluntarily and involuntarily).

    Anecdotally, since then, Google has opened up more facilities here. Salesforce.com has too. I believe Zynga, Facebook and Research in Motion all have offices here since then.I’d love to see a story that digs in on the diversification of the Puget Sound tech industry since those first layoffs. I think you’ll find that there’s a broader tech employment market now than 10 years ago. And that’s only a good thing. A region we don’t want all our eggs in one basket like they were with Boeing in the 70′s that lead to the infamous “Will the last person leaving Seattle turn out the lights” billboard.http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=1287

    • johnhcook

      The arrival of Facebook, Google, Salesforce.com, Hulu, etc. is one of the most interesting stories in the Seattle tech industry, and it is one we’ve been covering closely. The tech industry is much more diversified than 10 years ago, and I think that’s a good thing. Startups may be having a harder time recruiting, but there’s really no place in the world (outside of the Valley) that has the same concentration of tech giants as Seattle.

      • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

        I would agree. Part of what I’m curious about is if the numbers bear out my theory that the growth is due to Microsoft losing folks. From my time there, that really started in earnest with the layoffs in 2009. That was a huge cultural shift and shattered the “I’d never work anywhere else” point of view for a lot of people.

        Part of my interest is anecdotal: a lot of really good security folks I used to work with are over at South Lake Union now.

      • http://twitter.com/chrisamccoy Chris McCoy

        It’s a great thing. Will shift culture from fear of failure based (MS) to entrepreneurial. And that is EXACTLY what is needed. Big ideas happen when reality can be safely suspended and failure is rewarded.

  • Guest

    “Westin Building is a major telecommunications hub and carrier hotel facility”… 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westin_Building

    I bet this has nothing to do with real estate and everything to do with owning a major point in the Internet backbone. Clise family probably wants them to buy it all if they want the meet-me room.