Trending: Why net neutrality’s peril raises the stakes for future satellite broadband options

The downtown Seattle Macy’s building where several floors are being renovated into office space. (300 Pine Photo)

For 88 years, the historic structure at 300 Pine St. has been the epicenter of retail in Seattle, first as the home to The Bon Marché and later Macy’s. Now Amazon has ensured that it will continue into the next generation of retail, leasing a big chunk of office space in the building.

Amazon confirmed Monday that it has leased six floors of office space above the downtown Seattle Macy’s store. The company expects to move into the building around late summer 2018.

Starwood Capital Group owns the office space in the building. Initially, Starwood’s space encompassed four floors totaling about 312,000 square feet. But Starwood picked up two more floors last month, bringing the footprint to more than 475,000 square feet. At the time, Starwood didn’t say why it scooped up the extra space, but it appears that it was necessary to satisfy Amazon’s needs.

To those fretting that Amazon will halt its growth in Seattle as it pursues a second North American headquarters, the lease is the latest sign that the retail giant plans to continue expanding in its hometown.

Combined with the announcement earlier this month that Amazon plans to take all the 722,000 square feet of office space in the Rainier Square redevelopment project, Amazon has committed to approximately 1.2 million square feet of new office space in Seattle recently. Additionally, Amazon has become more willing to venture outside of its traditional hotspots of South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle as big blocks of available space become more scarce.

At the 2017 GeekWire Summit, Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said the company employs 50,000 people in Seattle — the same amount it could eventually hire at HQ2. Another 6,000 jobs are coming, and Amazon is gearing up to occupy 2 million more square feet of office space in its hometown.

A GeekWire analysis of Amazon’s office footprint in the Seattle area showed that between everything Amazon owns and occupies, as well as future projects, commitments and these two new leases, the online retail giant’s presence could eventually balloon to as much as 13.5 million square feet across 44 buildings.

A look at a possible office layout for the space. (300 Pine Rendering)

Amazon’s arrival at 300 Pine, which opened in 1929 as a location for The Bon Marché, effectively turns the building into a symbol of the past and future of retail.

As Amazon has thrived in retail, expanding both online and in brick-and-mortar, its future neighbor Macy’s has struggled. Amazon has played a role in declining sales at department stores like Macy’s in recent years. In fact, a report last year predicted Amazon will pass Macy’s as the nation’s top clothing retailer this year.

Macy’s is closing approximately 100 stores in the next few years and has sold off parts of other locations, as it did with the 300 Pine building in Seattle. Macy’s sold the top floors of 300 Pine to Starwood in 2015 for $65 million. The company said at the time the space was underused and Starwood quickly began a massive renovation project to turn the floors into office space and add a rooftop deck.

Macy’s has downsized its Seattle store as it sold off space in the building. Before the sale to Starwood, selling space spanned across floors one through six and the basement. With the extra floors Starwood picked up last month, Macy’s will be down to just two floors plus space in the basement.

Before closing the deal with Starwood, Macy’s was actually close to landing Facebook to fill the upper floors of the building, but couldn’t get an agreement done quick enough to satisfy Facebook’s immediate need for office space. Facebook instead opted for a building in Amazon’s backyard of South Lake Union, where it can house up to 2,000 people.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Data Engineer (crowdsourced, linguistic)The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2)
Software Engineer – Semantic ScholarThe Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2)
Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.