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Amazon Nixes 722K SF Seattle Office Lease

E-commerce juggernaut Amazon seems to be reluctant about sticking to its plans. According to a Seattle Times article, the company will no longer occupy the office section of the 982,000-square-foot Rainier Square Tower currently underway in Seattle’s central business district.

On February 14th, the company released a statement announcing its HQ2 withdrawal from Long Island City in Queens, New York. While the $3 billion bail on Amazon’s part was a surprise to almost everyone involved, the tech giant had yet to abandon any plans in its hometown of Seattle, construction, lease or otherwise.

Amazon hit rough waters with the Seattle City Council in 2018 because of a proposed “head tax” the city wanted to impose on large employers in an effort to address homelessness and its affordable housing crisis. Initially, Amazon had considered a possible sublease of the office space at Rainier Square Tower, along with a construction hiatus of its Block 18 development in Belltown if the Seattle City Council didn’t repeal the proposed head tax.

“I can confirm that pending the outcome of the head tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sub-lease all space in our recently leased Rainier Square building,” said Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener at the time.

In an interesting turn of events, amid pressure from several large companies, and referendum threats, the Seattle City Council announce the repeal of the tax in June 2018. Even so, the company chose to back out of the 722,000-square-foot office lease it had announced in early 2017, while construction of its 412,000-square-foot Block 18 office tower resumed.

The Rainier Square Tower is scheduled for completion in early 2020 and comprises 982,000 square feet of space. Apart from office, the building will also include approximately 180,000 square feet of luxury living space, and 79,000 square feet of retail.

At 58 stories, the tower is expected to be the second tallest in the Pacific Northwest region.

More information about the Rainier Square Tower here: http://www.rainiersquare.com/

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