Watch out Wizard, Bezos wants the Emerald City for himself

Amazon Settling in Seattle

Seattle cityscape made from computer parts

Amazon has agreed to lease two more buildings in the South Lake Union neighbourhood of Seattle, in a deal leaving the company occupying a quarter of the city's best office space.

The Seattle Times spoke to real estate expert, Kip Spencer, who acknowledged the situation has placed many local eggs in the one big Amazon basket.

Spencer, who founded Officespace.com, explained that “in the event of a retrenchment, it could have a fairly significant negative spiral effect".

Seattle's previous largest tenant was Washington Mutual, who filed for bankruptcy in 2008 following the subprime mortgage crisis.

Amazon is now set to occupy almost ten times the office space that Washington Mutual did, and any financial difficulties (unlikely, given the massive yearly revenues, even though actual profits seem hard to come by) the company found itself in would have an enormous impact on the Emerald City.

The new lease was first reported in the Daily Journal of Commerce who state that the "two-building complex is under construction at 307 Fairview Ave. N. One building will be 12 stories and the other will be 13 stories".

It added that the lease is for "all 817,000 square feet of office space" available, and is expected to last 15 years.

"We've agreed to lease the Troy Block and we're really excited to continue growing our urban campus in the heart of Seattle," John Schoettler, Amazon director of global real estate and facilities, said in a statement.

With regard to the local economy, GeekWire noted that the "commercial vacancy rate continues to fall in the Seattle area, now at about 10.7 per cent".

"And while rents are going up, they are nowhere near the levels seen in New York or San Francisco, perhaps one of the reasons why companies such as Dropbox, Facebook, Salesforce.com and Twitter are expanding in Seattle," it added.

Amazon was founded in 1994 and initially operated out of Jeff Bezos' garage, roughly ten miles away from its current headquarters in Seattle's downtown South Lake Union neighbourhood. ®


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