February 17, 2012, 3:59 PM

Amazon moves to buy land for a new headquarters

Amazon could build up to a 3 million square foot complex.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Lead Photo

Amazon.com appears close to building a new company headquarters that befits the status of the world’s biggest online retailer.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 isn’t saying much publically yet, but the e-retailer has submitted paperwork to build a 3 million-square-foot corporate headquarters in the heart of downtown Seattle, its home town.

A spokesman for the Seattle Department of Planning and Development confirms that Amazon has filed preliminary paperwork to build three office towers in the city’s Denny Triangle, an historic section of downtown Seattle that’s increasingly gentrified and developed.

The initial public paperwork from Amazon includes only a terse project description, but it’s expected that Amazon and its commercial real estate representatives will meet with Seattle city planners in as soon as a week to file a more formal application. “This project would involve three city blocks and millions of square feet,” the planning and development department spokesman says. Amazon’s initial paperwork did not include any potential details such as the cost of the project, a development timetable and how many Amazon employees would work at a new downtown headquarters.

The paperwork also didn’t spell out what Amazon would do with its current corporate campus in Seattle. In its annual report for 2011, Amazon does say it already leases about 3.5 million square feet of office space in North America. Also in its latest annual report Amazon spent $362 million on operating, capital and financing leases for equipment and office, fulfillment center, and data center facilities in 2011, up 60.9% from $225 million in 2010. Amazon also has 1.4 million square feet of occupied corporate office space under build-to-suit lease arrangements.

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