A decade ago, Amazon began to transform a former industrial neighborhood into one of the nation’s top tech hubs. Now, it is doing the same in the neighboring area to the south.
Yesterday, we reported on the company’s newest project, a 17-story office building at 2205 Seventh Ave., and within the paperwork for that project were aerial images that show just how far Amazon has taken the Denny Triangle, the neighborhood south of the now bustling South Lake Union.
Just a few years ago, the neighborhood was populated primarily by a smattering of parking lots and low-slung buildings. It was an underdeveloped zone, surrounded on all sides by some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods, but with some important landmarks like the 24-hour Hurricane Cafe. But in 2012, Amazon paid $207.5 million for three blocks in the neighborhood, where at the time it planned to build approximately 3.3 million square feet of office space.
Since then, Amazon has snapped up additional properties to build even more in the neighborhood and leased other nearby structures. And other developers are taking notice. Cranes are up all over the neighborhood as apartment developers are building apartments to house the thousands of Amazon employees already working in the neighborhood, and the many more to come.
The neighborhood has changed a lot in recent years, but Amazon is a long way from finishing its camps. Amazon’s first building in the Denny Triangle — the 36-story Doppler tower — opened in late 2015. That was followed late last year by the opening of the Day One tower, on the same block as the triumvirate of signature orbs. Construction is underway on the third block across from Day One and the Doppler tower.
On another full-block site, formerly home to the Hurricane Cafe and known as Block 21 in the aerials, Amazon plans to build a 23-story office building and an 8-story structure in the future. The project team has put in applications to take down the existing structures on site and start digging, meaning construction could begin soon.
Tonight, Amazon is scheduled to go in front of a Seattle design review board, which will evaluate the aesthetic of the new 17-story project. Amazon affiliate Acorn Development in December paid more than $19 million for that site, a half-block along the west side of Seventh Avenue, between Blanchard and Bell streets. The property is home to a former Days Inn, which has been serving as student housing for Cornish College of the Arts, and an office for the city’s now-shuttered Pronto bike-sharing program.
Don’t be surprised if we see even more building proposals from Amazon in the neighborhood. It also has options on another half block across the street from the most recently purchased site and a full block at the southeast corner of Dexter Avenue and Denny Way.
Last year, Amazon’s Director of Global Real Estate and Facilities John Schoettler said the company could occupy 12 million square feet by 2022 across 40 buildings in Seattle, up from 8.5 million square feet at the time. If Amazon keeps up its current pace it could hit, or even exceed that target earlier.