Amazon seeks permits for new high-rise towers

Amazon seeks permits for new high-rise towers
SEATTLE -- Amazon.com wants to expand its empire with three new high-rise towers in Seattle, but the company must first convince city leaders that the neighborhood can handle the added traffic.

Amazon officials think it can, and they're now asking permission to get started on the massive project.

The land the company hopes to develop in the Denny Triangle is mostly being used for parking right now. Under Amazon's plan, parking would be moved underground and some of the current parking areas would be transformed into green space for the public.

Hoping to expand beyond its South Lake Union headquarters, the company announced plans earlier this year to build the trio of towers over the next several years.

The company took its aggressive timetable to the Seattle City Council on Monday, hoping to have permits in place before the end of the year.

"If all goes forward as planned, the employee base in Seattle will grow extensively and many more men and women will activate our commercial core," said Amazon's John Schoettler.

If the company's big plan becomes a reality, the three towers will play home to some 12,000 employees.

Despite that huge influx of people and cars, many locals and city officials have come out in favor of the plan.

"I don't think it's going to be too much of a gridlock problem that they're not going to figure it out one way or another," said Michael Edwards, who works downtown.

City council member Mike O'Brien has also give Amazon kudos for the project.

"Frankly, I think Amazon's picked a very smart site," O'Brien said. "It's very well served by transit; the streetcar goes right in front of their door. And just a couple blocks away from the Westlake Transit Center to connect to light rail, the bus tunnel."

O'Brien said the city is already building or looking to build more transit options in the area, and he said the new office complex could be what's needed to move those plans forward.

As part of an environmental impact study on the proposed building site, Amazon will have to conduct a traffic study.