Reflecting on the Decade Since Amazon Moved to South Lake Union

December 21st marked the tenth anniversary of the day Amazon formally announced that it was relocating to South Lake Union, “consolidating the company’s growing footprint into an 11-building campus” much larger than the former Beacon Hill hospital it occupied. At the time, market pundits anticipated the tech company could potentially grow to about 6,000 employees, a prediction that fell far short of what is now a seemingly ever-growing Seattle footprint. In 2017, Amazon “has come to dominate the [SLU] neighborhood and much of the city itself, employing more than 40,000 people in Seattle, spread over 37 offices.”

Yet before Amazon’s South Lake Union move could happen, Vulcan had a large task at hand: to increase the height limits in the neighborhood to stimulate more new development projects. Among the topics of debate were affordable housing and impact fees, and concerns were raised “about carving out exceptions for a single company or project.”

When the deal was announced on December 21, 2007 it was heralded as the “coming of age” for the South Lake Union area, and marked the start of an impressive “Amazonia.” The company now either occupies or will occupy at least 36 buildings in the city. Their “latest lease is the top six floors of the Macy’s building downtown.”

Read more on Amazon’s South Lake Union anniversary here.