Internet retail giant Amazon is to spend more than $1 billion to buy the Seattle corporate HQ it currently leases. Reuters is reporting the $1.16 billion transaction is the biggest commercial real estate deal for a single property in the U.S. this year.
The HQ consists of 11 buildings in the South Lake Union area, comprising a total of 1.8 million square feet of corporate office space. Amazon is buying the property from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment firm, Vulcan Real Estate, which put the buildings up for sale at the end of August.
Reuters notes that, based on the value of the deal, Amazon is paying the highest ever price for an office building of 100,000+ square feet in Seattle — shelling out around $644 per square foot, which is more than double the average rate of $308 for Seattle office space, according to real-estate analyst house Real Capital Analytics.
Owning its own HQ will presumably enable Amazon to ensure there are even fewer loose lips around the place — by doing away with things like landlord inspections. You might not think the odd visit from the building’s owners or their staff is a big deal but this is the company that puts up propaganda posters warning staff of the dangers of tech bloggers eavesdropping on their chit-chat.
Amazon began moving staff to the South Lake Union area in 2010, vacating properties in downtown Seattle and giving up its former HQ in the PacMed Center last year as it sought roomier premises to accommodate its increasing headcount.