Seattle Spring

It is a cold, windy and rainy day in Seattle. In looking for signs of spring, they are evident – there are tulips, sunbreaks, and cherry blossoms, and in being in our South Lake Union neighborhood, there is something bigger happening here – something that is about to transform this part of the city.

Amazon in moving in to our neighborhood – all 6,000+ of them. There are 11 buildings in various stages of completion, construction, and planning, developed by Vulcan Real Estate and Schnitzer West.  Today the first 3-building block is complete. It is the new heart, the epicenter of Amazon – and the most visible mark of that is now on the building. Amazon has started the beginning stage of their move in. The lounge furniture is in place, the grand fireplace is lit (a perfect day for that), the tables and lighting are in the cafe, and the doors are on the ceiling (Amazon likes their doors).

Amazon headquarters - South Lake Union, Seattle - NBBJ

In walking the neighborhood today, there are cranes, lifts, hardhats, orange vests – a bustling energy is everywhere. The larger vision here is for a newly enhanced urban environment between the downtown core and Lake Union. A desirable place for innovative businesses, urban professionals to live and to work, new restaurants, and retail – snowboards, home design, the REI flagship, and much yet to be realized. The streetcar running between downtown and Lake Union is about to increase it’s ridership.

A few years back when we designed our own headquarters along with the mixed use block at Alley 24 for Vulcan Development, this neighborhood was on the quiet fringe to the city. Some of the other developments that have been sitting vacant have recently announced new lease tenants. Still, there are many empty or under-utilized buildings – old warehouses, printing plants, manufacturing facilities, and even some single family homes in need of significant care or re-development.

Central plaza, Amazon headquarters - South Lake Union, Seattle - NBBJ

This is a great time to bring new energy into the city, and for Amazon to become part of the city again, with a great impact. We are in for a powerful transformation – a new epicenter in our rich and diverse city.

It’s definitely the first day of spring in our neighborhood.