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Amazon Spheres In Downtown Seattle Get First Plant

Amazon hosted a ceremonial tree planting Thursday as work continued on the large glass domes at the center of the company's downtown Seattle campus.

The Australian tree fern is the first plant to call the spheres home. The spheres will house a kind of indoor park for Amazon employees with hundreds of different species of plants from around the world.

"This is an opportunity to link nature to today's office space," said John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president of global real estate and facilities.

Like other spaces on the Amazon campus, the spheres will be a place for Amazon employees to work and spend time outside of their offices.

The spheres are climate-controlled and will stay 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 degrees at night.

Amazon Horticultural Services Manager Ron Gagliardo said walking through the spheres won't be like walking through a typical conservatory or greenhouse, which he describes as "hot and sticky and humid."

"This particular building was designed to house people and be comfortable for people first," Gagliardo said.

The spheres are expected to open in 2018. They will not be available for general public use, but they will be included in Amazon's campus tour.

Schoettler said he still thinks people passing through the city will get a lot out of the spheres. He compares them to the iconic Space Needle.

"[When] people come to Seattle, they always take a picture of the Space Needle. They may not go up in the Space Needle, but it's always an iconic structure," Schoettler said. "And we're seeing people standing on the street corner, from the moment it started to be built, people were taking photographs of it."

A nearby dog park and future green space will also be open to the public.

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.