In the year 2020, it will be our city's second-tallest skyscraper (58 floors). It's being built on the Rainier Square block and will do its tall thing right next to Minoru Yamasaki's Rainier Tower. (Yamasaki also designed two of the most symbolically important buildings of the 20th century: the Pruitt–Igoe projects, and the World Trade Center.) When completed, Amazon, the e-commerce giant that has made its founder and CEO the wealthiest man in the brief history of capitalism, is set to lease the whole tower. Ten or so gorgeous American sweetgum were quietly (and maybe even secretly) forced to pay the price of their lives for this new development.
I say "secretly" because when the trees were among the living and in the process of shedding their leaves for winter—and very much planning on being around when the days were long, warm, and sunny again—I made two attempts to inquire about their fate and received no response from Max Cummings, the person responsible for providing such information. Cummings did answer my first call and promised to email me details of the removal of the trees that once offered their arboreal ambiance and beauty to an otherwise very bland stretch of Fourth Avenue. I never received this promised email, and my second call to the man went straight to an answering machine.
The trees are now dead and gone, and though the developer promises to replace them as soon as possible, the time when we see big trees again on this street is so far in the future that it's not worth considering. What happened here? Were the big trees cut down to cut costs? Did the developer not like American sweetgum? And why did they not return my calls? Were they aware of my love of trees? No use knowing now. Nor do I care to play the game of: Kill now and answer questions later.
But it is worth pointing out that there are other huge projects in this city that have not removed pavement trees. An excellent example is LMN's Hyatt Regency hotel project on Ninth and Stewart. No trees were sacrificed for the construction of this building.