Google planning yet another office tower in Amazon’s backyard

Google planning yet another office tower in Amazon’s backyard

SEATTLE, Aug 15 — Google is taking another big step onto Amazon.com Inc’s turf in Seattle’s fast-growing tech hub.

The search-engine giant will be the office tenant in a new, 12-storey building just north of downtown that Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc plans to start next year in the South Lake Union neighbourhood, according to a statement yesterday from the developer.

Vulcan already has a four-building project under way for Google, a division of Alphabet Inc, nearby. Beyond that, Google has offices in the Fremont neighbourhood as well as in Kirkland, a suburb.

Vulcan helped transform South Lake Union from an industrial neighbourhood into a thriving technology centre over the past two decades, building many of the offices that now make up Amazon’s urban corporate campus.

Recently, the developer has been courting other tech firms that want to set up shop in the area to be closer to top engineering talent. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp with Bill Gates, has a project going in the neighbourhood for Facebook Inc.

Office rents in the area are now higher than in the city’s central business district, according to data from brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

While all the development in South Lake Union has attracted thousands of new, high-paid workers to Seattle and added to the local tax base, it has also provoked a backlash in town among residents who have seen apartment rents spike and local haunts go out of business.

The planned demolition of an iconic music venue to make way for a 44-floor apartment tower downtown recently spurred a campaign to halt the development.

Vulcan said the existing buildings on the new Google site will be demolished, forcing longtime tenants such as Guitar Center Inc to move out. It said it would contribute about US$2.8 million (RM11.46 million) in zoning fees for affordable housing and day care.

Vulcan didn’t say how many square feet of office space Google would occupy. But GeekWire, which reported on the development earlier yesterday, said previous permits filed for the site called for a 30,000-square-metre structure. The new project is expected to be completed by July 2021 and will include space for restaurants and retailers.

— Bloomberg