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.

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.

Author: Trevor Mogg

Source: DigitalTrends