Amazon Commerce

Amazon’s Secret Drive-Through Grocery Plan For Seattle

Amazon’s ambitions to sell groceries are not exactly a secret. The march of Prime Fresh and Prime Pantry across the nation are both clear indications that Amazon is interested in getting into one the biggest and most consistent areas of spend among American consumers.

But until now those efforts have been nearly entirely digitally focused. That may be changing. According to reports in GeekWire, Amazon is considering making a move to be your hometown grocery store, with physical locations — and drive-up windows, because Amazon is nothing if not dedicated to daring to be different.

No one knows exactly what Amazon’s plans are for a 9,759-square-foot retail space in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, but plans dug up by GeekWire seem to indicate that the space is being renovated into a drive-through grocery.

Not that Amazon is admitting this, or put its name anywhere on city permits — or even letting the people building the project in on the what it is or who it’s for.

“No idea,” one worker said when asked what would be going into the building. “We had to sign our life away. Half the guys in there don’t even know what they’re working on.”

“It’s a big secret — they won’t tell anyone,” another worker said.

GeekWire made the connection because the wording in the Seattle permits is almost an exact match for planning documents for Amazon drive-up grocery stores planned in the San Francisco Bay AreaWare Malcomb, the architect that designed Amazon’s planned drive-up grocery stores in the Bay Area as well as its Prime Now delivery hub in Seattle, is listed as the architect for “Project X.”

What the Seattle location will be like is also a toss-up, since Amazon so far isn’t admitting there will be one, but a glance at the Bay Area plans indicate the drive-up groceries will run from 7 in the morning till 10 at night and be staffed by about 15 workers who will stock parked cars. The bulk of trips are expected between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and the average visit is expected to be about five minutes long. 

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