Amazon scraps lease on massive Seattle skyscraper after ditching NY HQ2

E-commerce giant Amazon is giving up office space it had leased in a Seattle skyscraper after scrapping plans to build its HQ2 facility in New York just weeks ago.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed on Wednesday that it intends to sublease the 772,000 square feet of office space it intended to occupy in Rainer Square – a Seattle tower currently under construction. The skyscraper will one day be the city’s second tallest.

The lease was one of the biggest in the city’s history, according to The Seattle Times, enough to hold as many as 5,000 workers.

The e-commerce giant previously threatened to pull those same plans while the city council was mulling a new business tax.

“We are currently building two million square feet of office space in our South Lake Union campus in Seattle,” a spokesperson for Amazon said in a statement. “We are always evaluating our space requirements and intend to sublease Rainer Square based on current plans.”

The company added that it has more than 9,000 open roles in Seattle and will continue to “evaluate future growth.”


Amazon’s future in its hometown has come into question after it threatened to abandon its plans to build the downtown office space when the Seattle city council floated a so-called head tax. The tax, which was ultimately defeated, came out to 14 cents per employee per hour, or $275 per employee annually, on for-profit companies that net at least $20 million annually. The rationale for the tax was to raise money to pay for housing for the city’s homeless.

Meanwhile, just two weeks ago, the e-commerce giant announced it would not move forward with plans to build its Long Island City, New York, HQ2 facilites, amid mounting local opposition from residents and lawmakers – like Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.