When I heard that Amazon.com is now offering tours of its buildings in Seattle, I couldn’t wait to sign up. After all, I had worked in its gigantic warehouse in Georgetown many years ago and was curious to see what the company was doing with the small amount of extra space that used to be known as South Lake Union.
I imagined an action-packed adventure of a fulfillment center, or the excitement of a warehouse filled with random stuff. I worried about the likelihood of an overtired employee wandering zombie-like through the hallway and threatening to eat my brain.
Instead, there is office space.
And there are dogs. Lots of dogs.
At the Van Vorst Building (426 Terry Ave. N), I saw techies in their natural habitat, sitting in an easy-chair-filled lobby under posters celebrating Amazon’s early successes. There’s also a souvenir from a failure — an ice cave bear skeleton that was purchased on the long-gone Amazon Auctions. Plus, there were two of the 2,000 dogs registered to accompany their owners to work.
Guide Allison Flicker offered tidbits about Amazon’s corporate history during the one-hour walking tour that provides peeks into six buildings. Like the fact that every building is named after something significant from Amazon’s past, including the last name of the company’s first customer, Wainwright, and the company’s first dog, Rufus. (Are you reading this, Rufus Wainwright?)