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Oh, look at that. Another massive site in Seattle where something is being torn down, to be replaced with a giant drag queen platform boot. The old Rainier Square, a weird mall, is now torn asunder by pickers and pokers, and after a few days more, it will be a dusty hole in the ground.
The new tower, which will be the second tallest in the city (for a bit, in any case) and will hold the highest residences in all of Seattle, closed one of the largest commercial lease deals in the history of Seattle, and Amazon is going to move in to all 722,000 square feet of office space. I'm sure that made the developer very, very happy.
Who is, by the way, working for one of the largest single downtown land owners in Seattle: the University of Washington. When the University moved to its current campus — the spot of the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exhibition — around the turn of the 20th Century, the regents found that if they sold the land, it would be far below its appraised value. So, they made the choice to lease.
How much land does the University of Washington own? The so-called Metropolitan Tract runs from 3rd to 6th, Seneca to Union.
So, now the University of Washington owned, developer managed, Amazon leased building, which will open in 2020 or so, is to once again move the character of Seattle forward. Whether this is good or bad depends on your perspective. I hold both views, sometimes. I've been in Seattle long enough to remember ye olden days, when rent for a seven room house with a soundproofed practice room for your band was $1200 a month (Really, that was the first house I lived in here), but I also don't miss some of old Seattle's colloquialness.
And I certainly won't miss the Rainier Square, with the exception of the plaza at the base of Rainier Tower, which was always a nice outdoor public space.
Ah well. One thing about constant change: it comes with great stories.
It took a lot of magic to contain that nasty spirit under the mall of the Rainier Square, but the laced into the concrete pour was a charged latticework which created a powerful spell of containment. Of course, the magician who created that incantation during construction in the late 1970s was now long dead. And so, nobody was there when that spirit rose, once again, to the streets of Seattle, eager to cast the same economic woes on the city that plagued it before it was contained.
"So then the guy finds this box under the old cornerstone, and inside is this frog, and the frog can sing..." — "The frog can sing" — "Yeah, and the guy's gonna make a mint with this singing frog — "How you make a mint with a frog? What, you put it on YouTube or something?" — "No, he was gonna do show business, you know. Show it off." — "I'm skeptical you could make money in such a way" — "You want to hear about the cartoon or not?" — "I just want to know how a singing frog could lift me out of my career in construction and deliver me into the lap of luxury, as this cartoon seems to imply" — "You're a real fucking killjoy, you know that?" — "I have been told as much before."
She met him the day her parents were moving them into the new condo, way up top of that new building downtown. She was wondering through the garage after parking her car, her new keycard not quite working right to open the elevator. She saw him there, by the dumpsters, smoking. "You're not supposed to do that in here." Caught, he tossed the butt on the ground and stomped it out. "Sorry," he said. "I don't care," she said. "Can I have one?" He had a white apron on, it was wet. "You work in one of those restaurants?" she said. He nodded, and gave her a cigarette from his pack. "Cool. Want to see what the penthouse is like when you get off work?"
There is a story here I don't know how to tell. There is a team of retail leasing specialists. One of them closed what is maybe the biggest real estate deal in Seattle. Can you imagine how long that must have taken? What the lead time was like? The negotiation? What about when it closed, and the entire massive chunk of office space was leased to a single tenant?
Baby boy mouse loved to watch them tear down buildings. He would climb up on the wall on the building opposite, standing just above the heads of the humans who stood to watch, too. The dust raising from the collapsing concrete, the pickers reaching up and grabbing chunks to tear down, the water hoses tamping everything down. He stayed there and watched as long as he could, until he heard his brothers calling his name, trying to find him to do his duty and go steal crumbs from the little soup restaurant. He stayed as long as he could. He could hear the walls falling as he turned his back and went to work.