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Amazon’s Properties Tripled

Source: Company Filings

Amazon.com’s purchase of Whole Foods prompted lots of talk that it has become a brick and mortar retailer. But Amazon already had a huge amount of property in North America, thanks to its expansion in e-commerce and cloud computing. And its properties are increasingly crowded with workers.

Amazon’s North American properties more than tripled to 112 million square feet between 2011 and 2016, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The vast majority of that was in “fulfilment centers” and data centers in North America, which quadrupled to 99 million square feet in 2016 from 26 million in 2011. (See chart above.) Whole Foods had 17.8 million square feet of retail space as of September 2016, by comparison.

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In recent years, big tech companies like Apple and Facebook have purchased swaths of land for future growth. The vast majority of Amazon’s square footage is leased, but the company first purchased about 1.8 million square feet of buildings in Seattle from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. in 2012. Amazon has since doubled the amount of office space it owns in North America to 3.7 million square feet. It owns 2.2 million square feet of fulfilment and data centers in North America as well.

Michealene Risley and Carl Muhlstein commented on this article.
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