Amazon's new Seattle office building to include space for a homeless shelter

Posted May 13, 2017

Amazon will donate over 47,000 square feet in the downtown building for a shelter for homeless women, children and families.

Now, as the project gets closer to breaking ground, Amazon has taken steps to make sure the shelter isn't set adrift after the motel comes down.

The new buildings, and the shelter within, will be completed in early 2020.

At the same time - by sheltering those left out of Seattle's boom right at the center of Amazon's $4 billion urban campus, teeming with tech gentry- the new high-rise facility for Mary's Place will also highlight the yawning income-equality gap. A year ago alone, Amazon absorbed 69% of the 2.5 million square feet of downtown office space that came online.

"I see it as this huge gift because everywhere we go, we end up leaving", said Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary's Place, according to the Times.

Amazon, a company that appears to be consuming Seattle real estate unlike any other, is planning to hand over some of that real estate to those most in need: Homeless women and children.

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One of the residents of Mary's Place, Patricia Abbott, a mother of four, said she became homeless after losing her job when her son was injured and she needed to tend to his medical needs. The shelter will have its own entrance and elevator service.

Schoettler said his team had been discussing ways to permanently harbor Mary's Place inside an Amazon building for about a year.

When Schoettler shared the idea with the company's senior management in January, he told the Times, Bezos "loved the fact that it was unique, and that it was inclusive, within our campus, and thought that was very unusual and would allow us to do something different".

Amazon's next office building in Seattle will include a homeless shelter, as it very well should.

Amazon posted a video Wednesday showing the moment it surprised Hartman with a box that housed the ceremonial key to the new shelter. Mary's Place, which runs seven transitional shelters in the Seattle area created to house families until they can find permanent homes, will continue to pay the shelter staff. Amazon had previously given residence to Mary's Place into an old motel building they owned, but now will share this office space and pay all the utilities for the building. "There's people out there who really do care", Abbott said.

"This is a true blessing for Mary's Place and for all the families".

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