Vulcan Completes Phase III of Amazon.com Headquarters

Seattle – It was announced last Tuesday that Amazon’s new world headquarters in South Lake Union have been completed, at least in majority. The latest phase of construction completes two new buildings and one remodel located in the block between Harrison Street, Thomas Street, Terry Avenue and Boren Avenue.
In total, ten buildings have been completed for Amazon, including a remodel of the historic Terry Avenue Building which dates to 1915. Only one building, set for completion in 2013, will remain under construction as the rest of the campus begins operation.
Vulcan Real Estate, the developer for Amazon, made the announcement at a reception at one of Amazon’s new buildings at Terry Avenue between Thomas and Harrison streets. Commemorative speeches were given by representatives from Amazon and Vulcan as well as from Mayor Mike McGinn.
The tone was celebratory and focused largely on the growth and livelihood of the South Lake Union neighborhood as a whole. The neighborhood has experienced significant growth and investment over the last decade, and jobs and tax revenue generated by Amazon’s increased presence is expected to have a significant rejuvenating effect on the area.
The Mayor praised Amazon’s role in the neighborhood development as a model for Seattle growth, even describing South Lake Union’s growth as an ideal example for the nation as a whole.
“President Obama in his State of The Union address spoke about how we are going to win the future,” said McGinn. “He said we are going to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build. And when you stand right here you can see that.”
The mayor praised the innovation of Amazon specifically, and of the neighborhood as a whole, citing its “research and global health institutions, construction, and the street-scape with its natural drainage.”
McGinn pointed to the sustained growth he expects to see as a result of the quality of recent development, noting, “This is a place that has new transit connections, is re-making how we use our roadways, is walkable and bikable, and has new construction. These are the types of places that will attract innovators and innovative companies, and that will show how we can live in greater harmony with this beautiful place we inhabit.” Vulcan expects their latest buildings to join those already completed in achieving LEED gold certification for green construction.
John Schoettler, vice president of global real estate and facilities management at Amazon, explained his company’s draw to the neighborhood, noting, “South Lake Union provides convenient access to amenities, public transportation, open space and retail, all of which is great for our employees.”
Vulcan highlighted South Lake Union’s rise over the past decade with the following statistics, printed on large posters in the reception room: The number of housing units in South Lake Union went from 760 in 2000 to 3,080 in 2010. Cumulative neighborhood investment went from 265 million in 2004 to 2.24 billion by 2010. Vulcan also predicted that the number of neighborhood jobs would continue to increase from the 16,000 in 2003 to around 40,000 by 2015.
One person who predicted and invested in the increased vibrancy of South Lake Union is Tom Douglas. Seattle’s most well known chef jumped at the opportunity to become involved in the growth wave generated by the Amazon/Vulcan development.
“It’s 15 full buildings of employees and I think that is spectacular,” he said on Tuesday.
Douglas is set to entice the culinary palate of the neighborhood with three original restaurants, all set to open by mid April. All three restaurants are located in the Terry Avenue building. His latest endeavors include Ting MoMo, a small Tibetan dumpling café, Cuoco, an open kitchen serving house-made pasta, and The Brave Horse Tavern.
Douglas hopes to both benefit from and contribute to the increase in jobs and ultimately see South Lake Union grow into an increasingly vibrant neighborhood.
“Without jobs there is no taxes and there is no life, so I think from that perspective it is terrific, and I think that once you see all the little businesses kind of fill in the blanks here its going to be a really regarded place.”
Douglas has been prepared with his latest restaurant concepts for some time but has patiently awaited the present moment to actualize them. In other words, coordinated timing between his operation and the Amazon/Vulcan development was vital.
“Now just happened to be when this project was done,” he said. “If that would have been a year ago I would have done it then.”
See “Phase III of Amazon HQ Build Complete” on page
Phase III of Amazon HQ Build Complete
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For Douglas, the economic upswing of South Lake Union is enticing, and yet the neighborhood (and the historic Terry Avenue building in particular) also has a more abstract appeal.
“Certainly the employment is really great. What I like is there is a nice mix and old and new buildings. The extension of some of the old buildings add some textural flavor to the area, I like that a lot.”
We did the one over on Westlake and Harrison (New Serious Pie). I’m curious about the whole thing. I’ve been in my neighborhood for a long time, and this is only 7 blocks away so this is still a walking distance which I like, but its still a bit of a different start for us.”
“We do a great job of attracting people from all over the world to come to this city because we innovate…but we don’t do the best job with our own youth. I hope you can all help me make sure that the prosperity we see in this place is a prosperity that is shared by all the people of Seattle.”
Mayor Mcginn gave thanks to all involved in the growth, closing his statements by saying, “There is a lot more to come and I’m proud to be associated with it.”
Ada Healey, vice president of real estate at Vulcan:
“Since 2004, three billion dollars have been invested in this neighborhood. That investment has included the development of new offices, new life sciences research space , new retail, new housing both for rent and for sale, as well as hundreds of subsidized housing units. Plus there has been new infrastructure investment: There is new Lake Union park, the Seattle streetcar, and the Mercer corridor East.”
With these investments we are laying a foundation for the city’s long term growth. And what do we as a community get for these investments? Well, we got jobs. And we got a lot of them.”

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