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Amazon signs lease on huge Manhattan premises, possibly for first physical store

Following reports last month that Amazon was gearing up to lease a location in New York City possibly for its first customer-facing retail effort, real estate manager Vornado Realty Trust on Thursday confirmed that the e-commerce giant has signed a deal for 470,000 square feet of space in midtown Manhattan.

The site, located just across from the Empire State Building at 7 West 34th Street, is likely to be used partly as office space but could also serve as the company’s first permanent brick-and-mortar store as well as a same-day shipping hub for online customers in the local area.

Part of the premises may also be used to handle item returns and exchanges, as well as a collection point for online orders, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal recently.

Related: Google eyeing Manhattan site for first brick-and-mortar store

Amazon’s lease on the location runs for 17 years and could mark the company’s first serious effort at taking its business to a customer-facing setting to push its growing line of tech products, which currently includes e-readers, tablets and its first smartphone. It’s not currently known when Amazon will be moving into its new location.

The news of the Seattle-based company’s move into Manhattan follows an announcement by Microsoft in September confirming its intention to open a flagship retail store on Fifth Avenue, close to Apple’s iconic ‘glass box’ premises.

Last month Amazon opened pop-up stores in San Francisco and Sacramento in an effort to catch the holiday crowd. The kiosks, set up in shopping malls, could also provide the company with some useful customer-facing retail experience ahead of a more permanent brick-and-mortar presence.

[Via WSJ]