This little pink elephant will stay outdoors where it belongs.
Amazon’s plans to display the smaller Elephant Car Wash sign on its Seattle headquarters campus now involve putting the historic marker at the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street in front of its reInvent tower.
Amazon was gifted the sign last fall by Elephant Car Wash owner Bob Haney after the business closed its nearby Denny Triangle location after 64 years of operation. Amazon originally wasn’t sure if the sign would end up inside one of its numerous Seattle office buildings. The larger elephant — a glowing, spinning, pink pachyderm piece of the city’s history — went to the Museum of History and Industry.
The Seattle P-I reported this week on Amazon’s plans for the smaller sign, saying that public records show “the tech giant is asking for special zoning permissions to ensure the sign is viewed as a work of art and not advertising.”
Amazon confirmed more details of the project to GeekWire on Thursday, including that it has invested approximately $175,000 in restoring the sign through Western Neon, which has worked on such iconic signage as the Rainier Beer “R.”
If all goes right with the city, Amazon plans to install the elephant in June, the company said.
Renderings show the 1950s-era sign in a large decorative planter, kitty-corner from the much more modern Spheres. The company told GeekWire that it will light up and a plaque will explain the sign’s origins and honor its designer, Beatrice Haverfield, Seattle’s so-called “Queen of Neon,” who was responsible for designing many of the city’s most famous signs.
John Schoettler, Amazon’s VP of global real estate and facilities, told GeekWire that as the tech giant has grown in Seattle over the past 10 years, its approach has been to “stitch” itself into the community and build a neighborhood, not a campus.
“A neighborhood is much more than buildings, parks, and streets — it’s also about the memories all of us associate to this place,” Schoettler said. “The Pink Elephant was not only a sublime piece of industrial neon art by Beatrice Haverfield, but also an iconic sign for many Seattleites, and we are happy to preserve it so everyone can continue to enjoy its beautiful lights, color and shapes.”
The elephant is not the first piece of historic signage Amazon has landed as campus decor. The company said the sign for the old King Cat Theater hangs in its Coral building, also known as Blanchard Plaza, at 2201 6th Ave.
And Amazon also chipped in $250,000 to help repair and strengthen the Macy’s Christmas star, another Seattle landmark, on the old downtown department store in which Amazon now occupies a majority of the floors.