The online retailer could take up to eight years to complete its proposed three-block high-rise project, the largest development ever proposed downtown.
Amazon.com‘s proposed three-block high-rise office complex in Seattle’s Denny Triangle could take as long as eight years to finish, a project architect revealed Tuesday night.
The blocks would be developed in phases, one block at a time, with two to four years between each phase, John Savo of NBBJ told the city’s Downtown Design Review Board.
Amazon’s proposed timing was among the new details that surfaced at the review board’s first meeting to consider the preliminary design of the complex, at 3.3 million square feet the largest development ever proposed downtown.
The block closest to downtown — between Sixth, Seventh and Westlake avenues and Virginia and Lenora streets — probably would be developed first, he added.
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More than 100 people crowded into the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall to hear presentations from Savo and Dale Alberda, another project architect.
No Amazon official spoke.
While most attention so far has been focused on the tower of up to 37 stories that would be the centerpiece of each block, Savo and Alberda said each block also would have shorter buildings — up to six stories — that would be linked to the tower on that block by one or two skybridges.
On the block likely to be developed first, a small bridge would link the tower to a 40,000-square-foot auditoriumlike building seating 2,000 that Amazon plans to build along Lenora Street, Savo said.
The online retailer’s current Seattle offices lack such a meeting space, he added. It would be “more like a ballroom in a hotel” than an auditorium, Savo said, and could be broken up into smaller spaces if needed.
Amazon hasn’t yet decided whether it would be open for noncompany events, he added. But the 50-foot-wide courtyard between the tower and the meeting building would serve as a public passage between Sixth and Seventh avenues and a “pre-function” area for auditorium events, Alberda said.
On the block between Sixth, Seventh, Lenora and Blanchard, two skybridges about two or three stories tall would connect the tower with a six-story structure, bridging a 100-foot wide plaza that would cut through the block.
That space might be used for performances, Alberda said.
Board member Brian Scott expressed doubts: “It could be like walking under the freeway,” he said.
Street-level retail would be concentrated along Seventh and Westlake avenues, Savo said. Amazon also has proposed a plaza with what Alberda called a “retail courtyard” at the South Lake Union Trolley stop at Seventh and Westlake, and another significant chunk of open space wrapping around the base of the high-rise at Eighth, Westlake and Lenora.
The blocks Amazon proposes to redevelop are now mostly parking lots, but construction would require demolition of the Sixth Avenue Inn hotel, the King Cat Theater and the Toyota of Seattle dealership.
Fast-growing Amazon already has a big office footprint in Seattle, even without the towers. It leases about 2.7 million square feet in downtown’s northern reaches, including a 1.7 milllion-square-foot headquarters complex Vulcan Real Estate is completing for the online retailer in South Lake Union.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com