Amazon expanding again in Seattle with 2 more leases, as growth continues unabated

Amazon has leased two more mid-sized office buildings in South Lake Union as the company’s rapid growth in Seattle continues unabated.

The company confirmed Friday it has leased all the office space in the new 11-story, 162,000-square-foot building at 9th and Thomas, as well as about 186,000 square feet in the former Pemco Insurance headquarters on Eastlake Avenue, next to the REI flagship store.

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Before and after photos show how Amazon has completely transformed Seattle in a decade

In 2017, the neighborhood looks practically brand new. On the left are Amazon offices. The office of Sellen Construction, which has developed numerous projects in the area, is on the right.

Google Street View/Compiled by Harrison Jacobs

Amazon’s decision in 2007 to locate its headquarters in downtown Seattle has transformed the city in its image.

As the global e-commerce giant has grown from 5,000 employees in the city to more than 40,000, a flurry of development has followed.

The sea of parking lots, warehouses, motels, and car rental agencies that made up Seattle’s South Lake Union and Denny Triangle has become gleaming skyscrapers, luxury rental towers, tech offices, and restaurants.

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Diners aren’t showing up as expected in South Lake Union, causing some restaurants to close

Empty chairs in the recently closed bar, Cantine in Seattle's South Lake Union, look out at neighborhood workers with lunch takeout containers. The bar and several other restaurants closed this year because of lackluster dinner patronage.

Empty chairs in the recently closed bar, Cantine in Seattle’s South Lake Union, look out at neighborhood workers with lunch takeout containers. The bar and several other restaurants closed this year because of lackluster dinner patronage. – Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/ for Marketplace

Around 6 p.m. on a recent weekday, people flood out of South Lake Union and squeeze onto buses. This neighborhood has become the heart of Amazon in Seattle and has utterly transformed since the company moved in almost a decade ago. It’s now full of gleaming office buildings and tech workers. But those workers are not spending their income on fancy dinners close to work, at least not in the numbers some of the restaurant owners expected.

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Amazon’s epic year

Amazon HQ

The view from inside an Amazon building in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

2017 has been the year of Amazon.

On a Friday morning in June, the world woke up to the shocking news that Amazon had agreed to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in a move that immediately upended an entire industry. And somehow that wasn’t even the company’s biggest story of the year.

Amazon made countless headlines at GeekWire and in news outlets around the globe 2017 thanks to a dizzying array of big moves that would represent years of activity for most big tech companies. Amazon has added more than 235,000 employees over the last four quarters, and in 2017, its stock price has risen more than 53 percent.

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Eastlake Community Council Jan/Feb events

Jan. 12 public comment deadline on Roosevelt RapidRide [Downtown Seattle to Eastlake to Roosevelt bus line] scoping  On how to comment and about some of the issues, see this section of the ECC web site.

Public meeting with open mike to dream about and discuss Eastlake priorities – Tues., Jan. 23  6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at TOPS-Seward School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E. Whether or not you can come, please send your thoughts to ECC at info@eastlakeseattle.org. For possible background, see the Eastlake Neighborhood Plan

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Ten years ago, Amazon changed Seattle, announcing its move to South Lake Union

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Ten years ago Amazon’s South Lake Union campus looked like this, dominated by warehouses and parking lots, before the massive redevelopment project launched.

It’s been ten years since Amazon committed to building an eleven building campus in South Lake Union. But before the company locked up that space, Amazon’s landlord went to the city seeking a deal, sparking debates about the impact of development that have grown louder a decade on.

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Henry’s Tavern Taps 50 Beers in South Lake Union

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The chain’s latest is located – where else? – at the base of an Amazon building

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Amazon’s Seattle hiring frenzy slows sharply; what’s going on?

The Amazon Spheres are the visual centerpiece of the company’s downtown Seattle campus. It also has extensive office space in South Lake Union and the upper floors of the downtown Macy’s building and has committed to leasing all the office space in a planned downtown skyscraper called Rainier Square. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

The Amazon Spheres are the visual centerpiece of the company’s downtown Seattle campus. It also has extensive office space in South Lake Union and the upper floors of the downtown Macy’s building and has committed to leasing all the office space in a planned downtown skyscraper called Rainier Square. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Amazon’s hiring boom is cooling off.

The company, Seattle’s largest employer, appears to be seeking the smallest number of new employees in the city in years after a feverish, four-year growth spurt that more than doubled its head count.

Open job postings at Amazon’s headquarters, which stood at more than 9,000 as recently as June, have declined sharply and steadily in the last few months.

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Revel Will Move Its Korean Street Food to South Lake Union for a Year

To make way for a new development, Fremont’s excellent Korean street-food restaurant Revel and its adjacent bar, Quoin, will move for one year to South Lake Union. Chef-owners Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi refer to the temporary situation as a pop-up taking place in the former home of Josh Henderson’s Vestal. Revel and Quoin should make a seamless transition from Fremont to SLU in spring 2018, according to Seattle Met, before returning in 2019 to the new three-story mixed-use building at their original location in Fremont.

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A different sort of pet, Cha Cha the tortoise strolls South Lake Union

Cha Cha the leopard tortoise plows forward on a walk in South Lake Union as passers-by gather to check out an unusual pet. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Cha Cha the leopard tortoise plows forward on a walk in South Lake Union as passers-by gather to check out an unusual pet. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

“Very few people have interacted intimately with a tortoise,” says Jim Ferron.

By that, he means having one as a long-term pet.

His tortoise is Cha Cha.

Like turtles, they are reptiles from the order Testudines. But tortoises are land-based while turtles live in or around water.

Cha Cha is a 13-year-old leopard tortoise — a strict vegetarian.

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