Future Tri-Towers of Amazon, New SEA Stadium for NBA/NHL

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Amazon.com plans to build three commercial towers in Seattle, potentially increasing the city’s downtown office space by 7 percent, based on the company’s preliminary development plans and figures from CBRE Group, Inc.

According to Bloomberg News, the world’s largest Internet retailer has agreed to buy three contiguous blocks in the South Lake Union “Denny district” from Clise Properties Inc. and has options to buy additional “significant” sites nearby, said Chairman Al Clise, the fourth-generation head of the family- owned developer.

“Amazon wants to plan for their future,” Clise said in a telephone interview yesterday. “The amount of new jobs and infrastructure and economic development this will provide is just amazing.”

Seattle’s downtown office market of 42.7 million square feet (3.97 million square meters) is “one of the strongest-performing” in the U.S., CBRE said in a fourth-quarter report. Office landlords had a net gain in occupied space for the seventh straight quarter, fueled by technology companies such as Amazon, according to the brokerage firm. Vacancies in the South Lake Union submarket, where Amazon is based, fell to 9 percent, compared with almost 18 percent for downtown Seattle as a whole.

The company’s three towers would have as much as 3 million square feet of space, according to preliminary documents filed Feb. 15 with the city’s Department of Planning and Development.

The retailer’s property consultant, Seattle-based Seneca Real Estate Group Inc., filed the paperwork yesterday to begin the process of obtaining permits for three buildings of about 1 million square feet each, at 2001, 2100, and 2101 Seventh Ave., according to the planning department’s website.

The land is zoned for office buildings as high as 500 feet (152 meters), or about 40 stories, according to the department. [24×7]

Arena Deal Would Make Seattle a Four-Plex, Pro-League Sports Mecca

Is it a pipe-dream or a pipeline to the future of Seattle sports?

The plan was spearheaded by Seattle-born investor Chris Hansen, who with his investment group is planning to purchase an NBA franchise and bring it to Seattle. He also is searching for a partner to bring an NHL team to Seattle.

The plan for a new, self-funded NBA and NHL arena in Seattle in the city’s Sodo neighborhood, funded privately and publicly by tax revenuew hich must still go through a newly appointed regional citizen panel, hinges on new sports franchises  to be bound to stay in Seattle for 30 years. That means there could be no repeat of the Sonics fiasco by Howard Schultz profiteering for at least three decades.

While the cost of the facility would be between $450 million and $500 million, public funding participation would be capped at $200 million, with revenue generated mainly by operation of the facility, and with rent paid by the teams and by the arena operator.

seattle nba arena

Under the proposed agreements, if those sources do not generate enough money, the teams would be on the hook to pay more in rent, said Dwight Dively, finance director for King County.

“There will be no new taxes because of this,” said Fred Podesta, finance director for the city of Seattle. “There will be new revenues created by the arena.”

City and county representatives stressed that there would be little to no funding obligation by local taxpayers. The proposed agreement includes financial security provisions that would make Hansen’s investment group responsible for construction cost overruns and operational shortfalls, said Beth Goldberg, director of the city’s budget office.

For a basketball tenant, Hansen reportedly has his sights set on the Sacramento Kings, whose city — in a situation eerily similar to Seattle’s loss of the Sonics — is under intense pressure to build a new basketball facility. Sacramento must submit a financing plan by March 1 or risk losing the Kings, and city leaders are running out of time.

Meanwhile, the struggling Phoenix Coyotes professional hockey team may also be up for grabs. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said the league is looking for a buyer to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, but has strong interest in bringing a team to Seattle — as long as there’s a venue.

The Seattle Times, which originally broke the arena story two weeks ago,reported that Hansen met with three Seattle City Council members on Wednesday to discuss the arena proposal. He contacted Constantine’s office several weeks ago, and briefed the rest of the City Council on Thursday morning, the Times reported.

Hansen, a San Francisco hedge-fund manager, is a relatively unknown name in the realm of multimillionaires connected to Seattle. A Roosevelt High School graduate who also attended Bishop Blanchet High, he’s not alone in wanting pro basketball back in the Emerald City. A potential site on the Eastside was being eyed by potential investors like Chicago businessman Donald Levin and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. That was last summer — it’s unknown at this point whether Ballmer is interested in contributing to Hansen’s plan.  [24×7]

Category: What's Brewing?

About the Author (Author Profile)

Larry Sivitz (Google) is founder, publisher and managing editor of Seattle24x7, the founder of SearchWrite Search Marketing, an SEO, PPC and Social Media Thought Leader, and an SPJ award winner for Seattle magazine.