An otherwise innocuous conveyance permit required for elevator work in the AVA Capitol Hill building is the first document filed with the city over the past four years for the 600 E Pike project to include the name “Amazon.”
“No comment,” an Amazon spokesperson offered when CHS confronted the $855 billion and change company with its latest Washington Post-worthy, Watergate-level reporting on the store.
Earlier this month, CHS reported on construction kicking back into motion on the large, 10,000-square-foot retail project in the ground floor of the seven-story AVA development built on the auto row bones of the block’s Mercedes Benz dealership.
The E Pike store will join Amazon’s Whole Foods that opened at Broadway and Madison in October in serving the area.
In 2017, property owners along E Pike told CHS that Amazon held a longterm lease for the space and that only the retail giant could afford to work on a timeline that left such a massive and expensive commercial space empty for years. The senior program manager included in permit filings on the project worked on the University Village Amazon bookstore and the launch team for Amazon Go.
Amazon Retail, LLC, the project owner listed on the conveyance permit, is the entity behind permitting efforts for Amazon’s meatspace retail efforts including Amazon Go elsewhere in Seattle and beyond. Seattle-based tech site Geekwire has also been unable to confirm Amazon’s plans but did dig up permitting indicating that the store will utilize an “optical speed lane” entry system.
Amazon Go is the company’s cashless, mostly employee-less, checkout-less, quick mart concept. Shoppers check-in with their phones while the shelf weight sensors log selections like the world’s largest minibar. An array of cameras monitor your every shopping move while artificial intelligence will guess at exactly what you will do next in the store — and maybe beyond.
At more than 10,000 square feet, the E Pike Amazon store will be much larger than any of its existing automated Amazon Go cashless convenience store outlets. It currently operates nine Amazon Go cashless convenience stores including three in Seattle.
Permits indicate the Capitol Hill space will also host a commercial grade kitchen for food preparation. Amazon Go stores typically feature a wide selection of “grab and go” food with much of it made on-site. And there will be seating.
The plan is also to also sell beer and wine:
Amazon Go liquor won’t exactly be “grand and go,” however. The company will have an Amazon Go “associate” on hand to check ID for beer and wine sales, throwing a bit of a monkey wrench into the concept’s efforts at high scale, minimal human retail.
The E Pike store will open as Amazon is reportedly diving more fully into the brick and mortar grocery business. The Wall Street Journal reported that the retail giant has plans for a wave of new grocery stores across the country including new Amazon Gos and a new grocery brand that would be separate from Whole Foods. It also comes in a city where Amazon threw its weight around helping to repeal the Seattle head tax and in a neighborhood in an ongoing, seemingly neverending love/hate relationship with “tech” and “tech bros” where even the Microsoft engineers get a chuckle from the latest anti-Bezos graffiti.
With the company declining to comment, there is no official word about when the Capitol Hill store will open. But the work to build it appears likely to wrap up soon. The parking closure on the block to make room for work trucks and construction access is slated to last through April 1st. The company will also need to get a liquor license wrapped up before you’ll be able to grab a six-pack.
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