Amazon’s agreement to buy three blocks in the Denny Triangle and build three towers, each with 1 million square feet of office space, is a project any city would envy at any time. Coming while the general economy is still struggling to heal from the Great Recession — a bust that vaporized Washington Mutual, one of downtown Seattle’s most important corporate headquarters — it’s breathtaking.
To be sure, if every major plan ever noodled over, permitted or announced actually happened, many American skylines would look like New York or Chicago. One could almost say that about the grand plans for the Denny Triangle that went “poof” with the collapse four years ago.
Still, this is not a speculative project. It’s backed by a headquarters company that has already filled up its expansive new urban campus adjacent to downtown in South Lake Union. Amazon has the capital and the need to make this real. It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in Seattle, a sign of how much real headquarters of big companies matter (as opposed to “suitcase headquarters” with few jobs) and an urban-reset project in a walkable, transit-oriented area.
It’s also safe to acknowledge the disasters that did not befall us, one being a commercial real-estate meltdown on a scale with the residential collapse. In the worst part of the financial panic and Great Recession, this seemed like a real possibility. It didn’t happen, at least on a large scale and not in Seattle. Along with what appears to be a serious shot at an NBA arena downtown and a new team, this deal shows how the city continues to show its resiliency.
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Today’s Econ Haiku:
Ayer saved Alaska
Showed the best in CEOs
Happy landings, Bill