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Originally published February 28, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Page modified February 28, 2013 at 6:30 PM

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Amazon wants bite of Big Apple real estate, sources say

The Seattle-based online retailer is seeking as much as 500,000 square feet of office space in New York City, two people with knowledge of the company’s plans said.

Bloomberg News

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Amazon.com, downtown Seattle’s biggest user of office space, also is seeking as much as 500,000 square feet of office space in New York City, two people with knowledge of the company’s plans said.

The online retailer wants at least 250,000 square feet to start, with the flexibility to double its space within seven years, one person said. The two people asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

A deal for a half-million square feet would greatly increase Amazon’s presence in New York, where it has an office at 1350 Avenue of the Americas, near the Museum of Modern Art.

Computer technology and media companies have been expanding in Manhattan, preferring the older buildings south of Midtown over the glass and steel towers favored by the financial industry.

Amazon has sent requests for proposals to landlords throughout Manhattan, as well as parts of Brooklyn close to the East River. One World Trade Center, to be North America’s tallest building when completed in 2014, is among the properties under consideration, the person said.

Amazon spokesman Ty Rogers declined to comment.

In Seattle, the fast-growing company occupies 2.8 million square feet of office space on downtown’s northern fringes, with plans to lease at least 600,000 more.

Amazon also is starting construction on the first phase of a 3.3 million-square-foot high-rise complex in the Denny Triangle.

Steve Vitoff, a spokesman for the Durst Organization, which is codeveloping 1 World Trade Center with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is overseeing its leasing, declined to comment on Amazon’s New York plans. As of last month, the 3 million-square-foot skyscraper had 1.3 million square feet unleased.

Amazon last year expanded its space at 1350 Avenue of the Americas to 92,500 square feet, according to a statement from SL Green Realty, which owns the building. Rick Matthews, an SL Green spokesman, didn’t immediately return a telephone message.

New office leasing in Manhattan fell 20 percent last year to 22.3 million square feet, according to a January report by CBRE Group, the world’s biggest commercial real-estate-services firm. Availability rose to 11.9 percent from 10.7 percent.

Information on Amazon’s Seattle footprint was provided by Seattle Times reporter Eric Pryne.

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