South Lake Union: The bustle and boom of Seattle’s ‘Amazonland’

Amazonians eat lunch under the spheres on Aug. 10, 2017. Photo: GRANT HINDSLEY, SEATTLEPI.COM / SEATTLEPI.COM

In 2007, South Lake Union was a neighborhood in transition.

It was growing — developers were recognizing its value and building it up from the under-utilized, downtrodden sea of parking lots it had been for years.

Between 2003 and 2007, developers built 2.4 million square feet of commercial space, 1,850 apartments and condos, and created nearly 7,000 jobs, according to a city report cited by The Seattle Times in 2007.

Today, Amazon’s footprint is so massive that it dwarfs not just other companies in Seattle but across the U.S. The e-commerce behemoth now has 8.1 million square feet of office space and plans to expand to more than 12 million in the next five years, according to a report in The Seattle Times.

But all that was literally a drop in the bucket compared to what was about to unfold.

Amazon announced its move to South Lake Union in 2007, with plans to lease more than 1.6 million square feet of office space in 11 buildings.

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