Amazon confirmed that he was retiring from the new Rainier Square tower. Instead of renting all the office space, the company will sublet it to other tenants.
In Seattle, it can be a shock. Last spring, Amazon was criticized for using its lease of the Rainier Square tower, Seattle's second-tallest skyscraper, as currency exchange in its fight against the "tax-in".
At the time, the vice president of Amazon, Drew Herdener, had declared that a decision to sublet this space was being evaluated "in the expectation of the result "of the municipal council vote to levy a new tax on large companies like Amazon to finance housing and homeless services. (This was the tax of entry.)
Herdener's statement that the company was halting the construction of another project has been widely reported as a threat.
And, after a wave of criticism from Amazon and others, Seattle City Council repealed the same tax they had passed less than a month ago.
Now, Amazon says he's going to sublet the tower anyway.
Recently, as this month, when a Seattle Times headline reported that Amazon was restricting its growth in Seattle, Amazon has rushed to correct the title.
A spokesman for the company assured KUOW that Amazon would not re-evaluate its growth plans in Seattle until it filled the 9,000 vacancies, three South Lake Union buildings and the tower. Rainier Square of additional employees of Amazon.
But even though the company offered these guarantees to KUOW earlier this month, there may have been other projects. Geekwire reporter Monica Nickelsburg got a flyer to announce the space and the sublease was put online this weekend. Geekwire also reported that rumors about the sublease had been circulating for weeks.
In a statement, the company defended its decision to sublet this space by pointing to other areas of growth in Seattle: the two million square feet of office space that the company is building in South Lake Union and the 9 000 job openings in the Amazon sector listed in Seattle.
"We are currently building two million square feet of office space on our South Lake Union campus in Seattle," said a spokeswoman for Amazon in a statement. "We are constantly evaluating our space requirements and are planning to sublet Rainer Square based on current projects.We have over 9,000 vacancies in Seattle and we will continue to evaluate future growth. "
According to Business Insider, Amazon currently occupies 20% of the premier premises in downtown Seattle.
Teresa Mosqueda was one of only two members of the city council to have voted against the repeal of the entry tax. She also went to New York to warn local leaders of what she could expect from the company.
Today, Mosqueda warned not to read too much in the apparent U-turn of Amazon on Rainier Square.
"What I see, is a business that has flourished in Seattle largely because of our infrastructure and our workforce," she said.
Mosqueda said that when the city council repealed the entrance fee, Amazon's threat to stop the construction works weighed more than the threat of sub-renting the Rainier Square tower.
But the fundamental problems that the entry tax had to solve remain, she said.
"We still have a crisis of needs in unsatisfactory housing, public transport and infrastructure that will persist, that it is Amazon's in this tower, Google, Facebook or Apple or you, "Mosqueda told KUOW. "We must all come together and recognize that we need money to invest in public transit, infrastructure and housing."
According to Greg Johnson, Amazon's departure from Rainier Square will not hurt the commercial real estate market in Seattle. He is the president of Wright Runstad, who owns the building. "It's a lot of space, but Seattle is a pretty big market," he said. "So, in percentage, it will not cause an overabundance or something like that, and the demand is strong. So the probability is that it will probably be filled quickly. "
The building is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.
This story was updated at 16:30.