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Originally published May 8, 2012 at 8:23 PM | Page modified May 9, 2012 at 4:49 PM

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Amazon adds details to planned 3-tower complex

Amazon architects gave more details on the company's proposed 3.3 million-square-foot office complex to the city's advisory Downtown Review Board Tuesday night.

Seattle Times business reporter

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It shouldn't come as a big surprise that Amazon.com's proposed three-tower office complex in Seattle's Denny Triangle includes a special place for dogs.

The online retailer touts its dog-friendliness, even allowing employees to bring canine companions to work.

Amazon's architects presented more detailed plans for the company's 3.3 million-square-foot office complex to the city's advisory Downtown Review Board Tuesday night. Among other things, those plans show a circular dog park about 40 feet in diameter just off Sixth Avenue between Lenora and Blanchard streets, in a parklike plaza between a tower and smaller office building.

The dog park is "not only for the Amazon employees, but the neighborhood," landscape architect Mark Brand told the board. "There's a lot of demand."

Fast-growing Amazon has tentatively agreed to buy three blocks — bounded generally by Westlake Avenue, Sixth and Blanchard — from Seattle's Clise family. It filed preliminary paperwork with city planners for the massive office complex — downtown's largest project ever — earlier this year.

Each block would have a tower of up to 37 stories, plus a smaller building — office buildings of up to six stories on two blocks, a meeting hall seating 2,000 on the third.

Each block also would feature open space and extensive landscaping, and each of the six buildings would have ground-floor retail space. Altogether, the complex, which would be built in phases over four to eight years, would have about 3,300 underground parking stalls.

Some board members said they found the project a little overwhelming.

"One of the things that makes me nervous is the sheer magnitude," Chairman Gabe Grant said.

"It's moving very fast," Brian Scott agreed. "I'm struggling to keep up."

But he said Amazon's architects from NBBJ were moving in the right direction.

New features in the more detailed designs include:

• A rooftop cafeteria, with outdoor dining, atop the meeting hall, which would be on the south side of Lenora Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

• A horizontal "architectural trellis," perhaps covered with glass, high above part of the 50-foot-wide landscaped plaza between the meeting hall and the tower on the block. It would help make the plaza "usable and enjoyable any time of the year," architect Dale Alberda said.

• A covered walkway linking the two buildings on the block bounded by Sixth, Seventh, Lenora and Blanchard. It replaces two multistory skybridgelike structures in the earlier design that some board members had questioned.

• Off-street space for food trucks along Eighth Avenue.

Alberda said elevators from the underground parking garages on each block would deliver passengers not to building lobbies, but to the outdoor plazas and courtyards to help keep those spaces busy.

The blocks Amazon proposes to redevelop are now mostly parking lots, but construction would require demolition of the Sixth Avenue Inn hotel, the King Cat Theater and the Toyota of Seattle dealership.

Development would occur first on the Sixth Avenue Inn block, between Sixth, Seventh and Westlake avenues and Virginia and Lenora streets. That block includes the proposed meeting hall.

Amazon's plans are on a fast track. The design-review board already has tentatively scheduled another meeting July 10 at 6 p.m. in City Hall's Bertha Knight Landes Room.

That session is billed as a "recommendation" meeting, at which the board could gives its blessing to the design and several exceptions from city design guidelines that Amazon has requested.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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