Amazon’s plan to build its tallest tower yet in Bellevue, Wash., could be just the beginning of the company’s ambitions for a prime site that will eventually be home to thousands of employees.
RELATED: Amazon to build its tallest tower ever in Bellevue, continuing rapid growth outside Seattle HQ
Amazon revealed plans on Tuesday to build a 43-story tower in the heart of Bellevue, the city 10 miles east of Seattle that has become a focal point for the tech giant’s recent growth.
Through a public records request, GeekWire obtained early plans filed with the city for the so-called 600 Bellevue project at 600 108th Ave. N.E.
The documents indicate that Amazon could someday build even more on the block. Amazon refers to the tower in documents as “Phase I” of the 600 Bellevue project. The plans also mention a “Potential Phase II” with a second tower on the site.
Amazon confirmed the company is entitling the site to allow another tower on the block, but the tech giant has no plans to build anything beyond the one skyscraper any time soon.
Documents show the potential “Phase II” tower replacing the existing Bellevue Corporate Plaza on the block. But Amazon has renewed several leases for that building, a sign that it will remain intact for the time being.
So far, Amazon has only filed a pre-application package, and that means the documents don’t have a lot of specifics and plans could change as the project develops. The company bought the site earlier this year for $195 million.
The tower will include 885,000 square feet of office space, a meeting center and an “office amenity” that could be a signature feature such as the Spheres on Amazon’s Seattle campus. The project also includes 14,000 square feet of retail space and several pedestrian friendly areas.
The building will have room for several thousand employees, and it will be home to the crucial Worldwide Operations team, which is migrating to Bellevue from Seattle over the next few years. Amazon expects the building to be complete by 2024. The 600 Bellevue site is on top of a future light rail station, and it could serve as a hub connecting Amazon’s offices in both Seattle and Bellevue.
In addition to being the tallest skyscraper Amazon has built so far, at 600 feet the tower will become the tallest structure in Bellevue. The project is emblematic of Amazon’s rapid expansion in Bellevue, the company’s original birthplace.
Bellevue’s current tallest buildings include the Bellevue Towers and Lincoln Square at 42 stories, or 450 feet.
Amazon opened its first Bellevue office building in 2017. In less than two years, the company’s footprint has multiplied to more than 1 million square feet.
Amazon truly planted its flag in the city earlier this year, when it made the decision to make Bellevue the home of the Worldwide Operations arm that builds the company’s vast delivery and logistics business. It’s responsible for getting packages to customers’ doors, with more than 175 operating fulfillment centers around the world.
The team also manages Amazon’s thousands of delivery truck trailers and its fleet of 40 airplanes. New logistics initiatives, like Amazon’s “Delivery Service Partners” program, also fall under the worldwide operations purview.
Today, Amazon has about 500 people in Bellevue, and another 500 open positions based there. A flurry of recent office leases in addition to this project open up space for tens of thousands of employees to descend upon the city in the next few years.
Earlier this year, Amazon abandoned plans to build a second headquarters in New York City amid backlash that mirrored criticism the company faces in its hometown. Amazon’s eagerness to grow in Bellevue has fueled speculation that the city will become the de facto HQ2.
But Amazon’s focus on Bellevue doesn’t mean the company has given up on Seattle. Last week, Amazon unveiled its new re:Invent building on its Seattle campus with room for 5,000 employees. Amazon currently employs 45,000 people in Seattle and has close to 11,000 job openings in the city.
Here is the full pre-application packet, submitted to the city of Bellevue earlier this week.
Amazon Bellevue Tower by Nat Levy on Scribd