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Vulcan Real Estate has dramatically expanded its proposal for a tower at 400 Ninth Ave. N. in South Lake Union, public records show.

The proposed 12-story building, between Harrison and Republican streets, would contain 312,643 square feet of office space, about 6,000 square feet of retail and underground parking for 318 vehicles, according to city records.

That’s a big change from last year, when Vulcan sought the city’s review for a six-story building with about 194,000 square feet, largely for research labs, on the same site.

The latest proposal, which will get a public hearing Wednesday at the Queen Anne Community Center, comes as a Seattle City Council committee considers a wide-ranging rezoning ordinance for South Lake Union.

The rezone would raise building height limits, now at 65 or 85 feet in the area, to 160 feet for offices and 240 feet for apartment towers.

The preliminary paperwork for Vulcan’s office tower suggests the building would rise 160 feet, with up to 15 feet of additional height for a rooftop penthouse.

Vulcan’s site is on the half block now occupied by a parking lot and an old office building. The Veer Lofts condos are to its west, and the Tesla Motors showroom on Westlake Avenue North is to its east.

“They’re going to need Amazon or someone else to pre-lease all or a large majority of a project in order for them to break ground,” said Matt Christian, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield-Commerce in Seattle. “We don’t expect Vulcan to be building any new office product on spec.”

Office vacancies in South Lake Union have dropped as Amazon.com has gobbled up space. The tech giant last year bought its 11-building headquarters complex from Vulcan for $1.16 billion and is planning to build a high-rise office complex in the Denny Triangle.

“Big blocks of space are getting hard to come by,” said Greg Inglin, senior vice president at Colliers International in Seattle.

In anticipation of the rezone, developers have proposed other projects:

• Vulcan has received a permit for a six-story office complex at the intersection of Westlake and Mercer Street, with parking for about 550 vehicles.

• Skanska USA has said it plans to break ground on a 13-story office tower at 400 Fairview Ave. N., even without a signed tenant.

• Touchstone and Walsh Construction are seeking permits for office projects on the west side of Fairview, with a total of four 11-, 12- and 13-story buildings.

Vulcan officials said the 400 Ninth Ave. N. project was designed with the proposed rezoning in mind. Until the city clarifies in legislation the area’s building heights and incentive fees, “the timing of this project is uncertain,” said spokeswoman Lori Mason Curran.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com

On Twitter @sbhatt