Amazon has already made its mark in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, but now it wants to tackle the entre skyline of the Emerald City. And take ownership along with it.
In a defining move for both Amazon and the City of Seattle, the massive online retailer unveiled actual renderings of its proposed three office towers for the Denny Triangle area west of Westlake Avenue and near the new space it now leases.
The fact that Amazon wants to locate in downtown Seattle marks a pivotal investment in the city—not a suburb—and the designs by Seattle’s NBBJ architectural firm have the three towers changing the Seattle skyline, but also giving some new looks to the Seattle streetscape.
As the largest development proposed in downtown Seattle’s history, the new Amazon headquarters span three city blocks and create roughly three million square feet of new office space. Each tower has plenty of open space next to it and the middle of the three buildings provides a sort of oversized public open space that the designers have dubbed a “large urban room.”
The towers on blocks 14, 19 and 20 each boast 37 stories and views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The orientation of the buildings moves the longest facades away from neighbors and provides some variety in placement. By siting just one tower on each block site—connected by skybridges, of course—Amazon can create three distinct parks within the complex. Each will have a distinct theme, such as plenty of public art in “The Gallery,” a dog-friendly field in “The Park” and courtyards in “The Garden.” Hey, even expect dedicated space for food trucks and specific bike entrances into the site.
Along with plenty of office space, Amazon also proposes community meeting facilities for one of the towers. Currently, there are three small buildings and parking garages on the site. New buildings will include underground parking.
Not only will the proposal signal a major investment by Amazon in owning office space for the first time in Seattle, therefore ensuring its roots will be firmly planted in its birthplace, but the sheer size of the space dwarfs any current Seattle facilities. And it comes already pre-loaded with Amazon employees as tenants.
Along with all those changes, expect the city skyline to look drastically different, no matter the angle you choose to view it from. The phased project (three phases of two to four years) must first get through Seattle’s design-review board, which has already met this month to start looking at the proposal and will take up the concept again in July.
Being that Amazon hasn’t (yet?) asked for any subsidies on the project, the public response has remained largely positive. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, though, since if there’s one thing Amazon knows it is Seattle’s culture, a culture it has helped define and will now help design.
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