The second giant office tower in Amazon’s new campus just north of downtown Seattle is open for business.
The 36-story tower, which is flanked by a trifecta of glass and steel orbs still under construction, officially opened this morning, an Amazon spokesman said. Employees were seen Monday making their way to the new building on foot, by car and by bus, both public and private.
The message “Hello World” is emblazoned on the east side of the building, both introducing itself to the neighborhood and welcoming employees. The name of the NBBJ-designed structure, Day One, goes back to one of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ key mantras for the company.
“(Bezos) believes every day here at Amazon is Day 1,” Allison Flicker, Amazon community specialist, said during a tour of the company’s original headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood over the summer. “What he means by that is every day you come to work there is something new to experiment, to innovate, to invent. Never on any single day are you going to be doing the same thing over and over again.”
On Amazon’s South Lake Union campus, the buildings previously known as Day One North and Day One South are now known as “Cricket” and “Invictus,” respectively.
The famous orbs that share the block with the new tower are expected to open in late 2017 or early 2018, GeekWire previously reported. They will combine a retail hub, office space for Amazon employees and an indoor forest.
The second tower opening comes about 11 months after Amazon employees started moving into the first building in the Denny Triangle neighborhood, the 36-story Doppler tower. A third block, which temporarily housed the company’s Prime Now rapid delivery hub, is under construction now. The company also has a fourth block in the neighborhood, where permit records show it is planning to build approximately 860,000 square feet of office space.
Unlike most big tech companies, Amazon elected to build out its headquarters in the city rather than the suburbs. Construction on Amazon’s first building in the South Lake Union neighborhood began in 2008. A few years after that, Amazon had leased about 1.7 million square feet in the neighborhood. That was supposed to meet the company’s needs until 2016.
It didn’t turn out that way, as Amazon’s employment skyrocketed — now totaling more than 35,000 people in Washington state, and 306,000 worldwide — and it outgrew its headquarters. So Amazon began looking at the neighborhood to the south, which had a lot more available land at the time, and zoning that would let the company build skyscrapers. Amazon acquired the land for its campus from Clise Properties, a long-time landholder in the neighborhood, through multiple transactions that totaled more than $259 million.
Just because Amazon is building these headquarters doesn’t mean it’s done growing in South Lake Union and elsewhere. The company recently gobbled up more space near its South Lake Union headquarters, and it is setting up its first office on the east side of Lake Washington in downtown Bellevue.
Earlier this year, Amazon Director of Global Real Estate and Facilities John Schoettler said by 2022 the online retail giant could take up close to 12 million square feet across 40 buildings in Seattle.
Story updated at 2:30 p.m. with additional information about Amazon’s buildings.