January 27, 2014

Amazon buys yet another block of Seattle, but not to build a drone hive, probably, I’m sure it’s fine


Amazon plans to birth thousands of drones in foul pits of flame, or, I dunno, build a car park.

Amazon plans to birth thousands of drones in foul pits of flame, or, I dunno, build a car park.

Amazon paid $52.2 million for another entire block of downtown Seattle last week, most likely to house new office towers or a steely drone cloaca or a company rec center.

As Sanjay Bhatt writes for the Seattle Times,

In December 2012, Amazon paid Clise Properties $207.5 million for the three blocks on which it’s constructing the high-rise campus. As part of those negotiations, Amazon obtained options to buy the property it purchased Friday as well as the half-block across Seventh Avenue.

The block currently houses motels, parking lots, a Best Buy, and the Hurricane Cafe (about which the online consensus seems to be that the food is late night manna for Seattle’s drunken masses). While Amazon representatives didn’t comment on the purchase to Bhatt, Clise Propertees—the former owners—have since asked their tenants to vacate by mid 2015. We can assume that Amazon will be torching the lot in order to expand their plans for their downtown campus, perhaps with more high rises, perhaps with a chittering chrome hive full of drones dancing in maddened spirals around their queen, or perhaps with a parking garage. Indeed, much online commentary on the purchase has focused on the potential traffic buildup that the new Amazon campus could cause—something an above-ground parking structure might do more to alleviate than would, for instance, a terrifying mile high comb alive with blind, bladed, sun-blotting drones.

We’ve written before about Amazon’s grandiose plans for their other major Seattle properties, including a glass dome containing trees, sunlight, and zero amenities for the populace at large. The company is legendarily frugal even with HQ employees (not to mention the abuse poured on their temp workers in shipping warehouses), so the new block is not likely to include some of the employee-rewarding extravagances so commonplace with other tech-giant campuses like those offered by Google. Any hive built to shelter a massive half-flesh drone queen fed on lithium and blood sacrifice will be without frills.

According to Bhatt, “the company now leases or owns about 3.2 million square feet of office space in the area”, though of course that doesn’t include extensive underground drone egg chambers, like the one that recently halted drilling under Seattle. 

Whether Amazon builds more office towers in the space or lets the drones construct their own twisting nightmarish ecology to enshadow the city one thing is clear: Seattle is going to miss the Hurricane Cafe when it’s gone.


Dustin Kurtz is the marketing manager of Melville House, and a former bookseller.