Amazon has leased two office buildings in its home base neighborhood of South Lake Union, showing yet again that its plan to open up a second North American headquarters has not slowed the company’s explosive growth in Seattle.
The buildings are a new project called 9th and Thomas and the former headquarters of insurance company Pemco. GeekWire previously reported on both leases last year, which total more than 320,000 square feet, and Amazon confirmed them last week.
Amazon will move into both buildings in June, after internal renovations are complete.
The 9th & Thomas building totals 156,000 square feet of office space, and it was constructed late last year. The site was home to Seattle general contractor Sellen Construction for more than 50 years, and Sellen worked on the new building.
The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the building includes an apartment on the top floor that will be home to Sellen President Scott Redman and his family.
The former Pemco HQ is not a huge structure, with two older, adjoining buildings totaling 168,300 square feet. But its location — right off Interstate 5 next door to REI’s flagship store — is one of the most visible in Seattle.
Pemco had been located on that block since 1949 until it made the decision to sell the property in 2015 to Unico Properties. Later that year, it landed in a new headquarters, just a few blocks away at 1300 Dexter Ave. N. Since then, Unico has been renovating the buildings, originally built in 1973 and 1981, respectively, to make them attractive to tech companies.
Unico also owns the site next door to the Pemco building, currently a parking garage. Unico is beginning to tee up a nine-story office space on the site, permit records show, which could be a good fit for Amazon as it continues to grow.
Amazon’s insatiable appetite for office space in the Seattle area dominated the local real estate last year. It picked up two of the biggest available office spaces in the region — approximately 475,000 square feet above the downtown Seattle Macy’s store and the 722,000-square-foot Rainier Square project downtown.
Amazon pointed out in its request for proposals for the second headquarters that it occupies 8.1 million square feet in its hometown, across 33 buildings. GeekWire determined that with the new buildings it is picking up all over the Seattle area, Amazon’s footprint will soon surpass 13 million square feet.
Amazon has grown to employ 541,900 people around the world as of October, including more than 50,000 in Seattle. Amazon plans to employ another 50,000 people at HQ2. To house all those people, Amazon said it will spend up to $5 billion to build out the new campus, which could grow to more than 8 million square feet.