The Seattle Times published an article this morning about how “Amazon is the undisputed heavyweight champion of downtown Seattle” real estate. A few choice excerpts:
Amazon’s breathtaking growth — it has moved into about 2.7 million square feet in South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle since spring 2010 — has spearheaded the downtown office market’s recovery from record-high vacancy rates brought on by the recession and Washington Mutual’s demise.
Amazon’s influence also extends beyond the office sector. Owners and developers of apartment buildings, condo towers, hotels and retail space are cashing in on the company’s growth as well…Holland Partners, for instance, is building nearly 1,200 apartments in five complexes on downtown’s northern fringes.
“I think Amazon is just getting wound up,” says Spencer, the consultant. By the end of the decade, he says, the company could occupy 8 million square feet of office space — the equivalent of more than five 76-story Columbia Centers.
Amazon workers seem more inclined to rent for now rather than buy, Jones says, but they still have given a boost to the downtown condo market. “The company’s growth has had a profound effect on the consumer psyche,” he says. “It bolstered confidence to invest in downtown Seattle.”
Amazon looks healthy. Sales are strong. Its stock price is up 40 percent this year.
Even if the company does suffer a huge downturn, Joncas adds, its real-estate projects will have provided downtown with amenities — new streetscapes, open space, bicycle tracks — that won’t go away…”But right now,” she says, “our focus is on helping them all we can, trying to make sure they’re still around in 25 or 50 years.”