It’s Amazon. No, not the Amazon Rainforest. Well not the one in South America anyway. Amazon, the e-commerce giant has cultivated a rain forest right here in Seattle. We’re talking about the glass orb buildings located in downtown Seattle. Amazon has dubbed the glass and ivory superstructure, “The Spheres.” A direct link to nature.
How much nature?
News travels fast these days. So you may know about its 40,000 plants from over 30 countries, all carefully selected for this ecological wonder. But, did you know that 25,000 plants are woven into an impressive 60’ tall, 4,000 sqft mesh wall? Did you get that? A 60-foot vertical wall covered with more than 200 different species of plants (even carnivorous varieties).
While all of this is incredibly impressive, you might be asking yourself, “Why am I reading about The Amazon Spheres on a real estate blog?” Good question.
Did you know?
Amazon has not disclosed how much The Spheres cost, out of the $4 Billion Amazon Campus. King County estimated the project to be upwards of $284 Million.
So how do The Spheres relate to real estate? The answer is a kind of, “circle of life” story (no pun intended)
Aside from the fact that The Spheres is commercial property in Seattle, there are a myriad of contributing factors in real estate than just buildings and properties. For one, Amazon and its massive hiring boom over the recent years has almost single-handedly reshaped Seattle. There are more buildings, businesses, people, and activity. The city lives and feels much different than it ever has before. South Lake Union is no longer the slow-paced, patch of land with casually placed warehouses, parking lots, and low-rise industrial buildings. The age demographic has undoubtedly shifted younger, and the talent pool in the tech field has skyrocketed. Having said that, it’s not just tech driving Seattle. Other industries thriving today include construction, service-related industries, and travel, and that’s just the tip of our thriving economy.
What started for Amazon as a South Lake Union “campus”, has steadily expanded. Land holdings have migrated west (from SLU) and continued over the last decade. Today the entire city has been or is scheduled to be transformed into the Seattle of the future. With all of this job growth and expansion, one can certainly understand the impact on real estate. “Everyone has to live somewhere!” Seattle’s revolutionary growth has impacted every segment of the housing market. From the rental market to condominiums and single-family homes. The economic reality of supply and demand is at play now more than ever in the Seattle housing market.
The neighborhoods immediately adjacent to downtown have evolved too. Ballard, Fremont, Green Lake, and West Seattle are just a few examples that have become almost a city within a city. There are more restaurants, live music, shopping, and art/museums, and there are more residents are finding their homes there every day. White Center is also going through a revival, making way for residential construction, and expanding restaurants and nightlife options.
Circling back to The Spheres one last time
With all of Seattle’s progression and expansion, one might expect the beautiful views and nature to be pushed aside while industry takes its place. Thankfully, Mr. Jeff Bezos and his Amazon team have made the strategic decision to find a place for nature inside the city. Amazon wanted to give its employees a direct link to nature, and a way to escape the stuffy confines of a corporate office. The idea was to create an environment that might inspire creativity and improve brain function.
“Our goal with The Spheres was to create a unique gathering place where employees could collaborate and innovate together, and where the Seattle community could gather to experience biodiversity in the center of the city.”
John Schoettler, Amazon Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities
The Spheres Blossom at Amazon’s Urban HQ in Seattle
Let’s take a brief pause for gratitude. Thank you, Amazon and your innovative team, for giving Seattle a wonderous piece of architecture full of nature and organic inspiration from around the globe.
Where else can I get in touch with nature?
How can we get in touch with nature? Seattle has parks in almost every neighborhood. As for nature parks that offer a relaxing environment and creative space, with an Arboretum or untouched nature, we’ve identified a few of our favorites out of the dozens of Seattle parks (in no particular order):
- Volunteer Park – Capitol Hill
- Washington Park Arboretum – University of Washington
- Seattle Chinese Garden – West Seattle
- Discovery Park – Magnolia
Nature isn’t your thing?
One reason we’re so in love with Seattle is that it offers so much to so many different types of people. Whether you like to shop, eat, be with nature, be with friends, watch sports, or attend the theater, Seattle has it all. So we encourage you to explore and see if Seattle can teach you something new.
As for visiting The Spheres, there are tours available but be sure to schedule it in advance. Tour dates are booked almost a month out.
Now get out there and discover what Seattle is hiding. We’ll be here when you get back.