In Amazon's first public comments since its big Denny Triangle deal surfaced last month, its real-estate chief said the company wants the project to have a "sustainable and productive" community impact.
Amazon.com expects to decide by the end of June whether to proceed with plans to buy three Denny Triangle blocks for a high-rise office complex, the company’s real-estate head said Tuesday.
If the online retailer is convinced it can do what it wants on the property, the sale should close by the end of the year, said John Schoettler, Amazon’s director of global real-estate facilities.
His brief remarks at the city’s first public meeting on Amazon’s plans were the first public comments by an Amazon executive since the blockbuster deal came to light last month.
The fast-growing company has tentatively agreed to buy the three blocks — bounded roughly by Westlake Avenue, Sixth Avenue and Blanchard Street — from their longtime owner, Seattle’s Clise family.
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Amazon also has filed preliminary paperwork with city planners for an office tower of up to 37 stories on each block. While few details are available, documents filed by Amazon’s representatives so far indicate the towers, which would be built in phases, would total about 3.3 million square feet — the equivalent of two 76-story Columbia Centers.
Schoettler said Amazon entered into the contract with Clise because, with the company’s rapid growth, “we realized we needed a long-term vision.”
The company already has outgrown its new, 1.7 million-square-foot headquarters campus in South Lake Union, which isn’t yet finished. Amazon also has leased another 1 million square feet in that neighborhood and the Denny Triangle.
Schoettler called the project on Clise’s blocks, now mostly parking lots, “an opportunity to be sustainable and productive members of our community.”
He was not available after the meeting for additional comment.
John Savo of NBBJ, the project architect, said Amazon wants the towers to have windows that open and close, and to be “as inviting as someone’s home.”
The company wants to create a better neighborhood, he said: “It’s not often that an architect is given an opportunity to build part of a city.”
Tuesday’s meeting, attended by about 75 people, was intended to gather input on “public benefits” Amazon might provide as part of the project. Savo said Amazon is considering several, including:
• Public open space.
• Pedestrian connections at mid-block.
• Orienting the towers to improve views not only from, but through the site.
• Improving the South Lake Union Trolley stop at Seventh Avenue and Westlake Avenue.
City planners expect to receive more detailed design proposals from Amazon and NBBJ next week. The Downtown Design Review Board, and advisory group, will consider those plans at another public meeting at 5:30 p.m. on March 27 in Room L280 of City Hall.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com