Amazon is scoping out sites in Boston for some 1 million square feet in office space, the Boston Globe reports, citing unnamed real estate sources.
The e-commerce giant is eyeing an entire office building, maybe even two, in the city’s Seaport neighborhood, a harbor-side development with a mix of hotels, offices and retail, according to the report.
Amazon already employs more than 1,000 people in the Boston-Cambridge area who work in software engineering, Alexa development and for its AWS cloud unit. Amazon declined Retail Dive's request for more details or comment.
The report sparked speculation that the Northeastern city could be the winner of its new second headquarters. In October Amazon received 238 proposals from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America, the e-commerce giant said shortly after the proposals' Oct. 19 deadline.
The company expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow its second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs — a full equal to its Seattle campus. Following the release of its RFP, many cities scrambled to pull together incentive packages, although other cities and some advocates warned about the downsides.
Boston made Moody’s Analytics list of best guesses for Amazon’s new headquarters, coming in ninth, along with Austin (Moody’s winner), followed by Atlanta; Philadelphia; Rochester, NY; Pittsburgh; the New York tri-state area; Miami; Portland, OR; and Salt Lake City.
Retail analyst Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive that the "Mid-Atlantic has clear advantages from available mass transit and international airports along with proximity to the largest pool of high level college graduates." He added that a pool of highly skilled workers is among Amazon’s biggest priorities, making cities with several colleges and universities the most likely candidates.
Boston qualifies in several of those measures, but expanding in a city doesn’t mean HQ2 will be housed there. In September, Amazon announced new operations in New York City and elsewhere in the state, but an Amazon spokesperson clarified to Retail Dive then that those plans and HQ2 are two different projects. "Our new office in NYC is part of our ongoing job creation efforts in New York and will not influence the selection process for our second headquarters in North America," the spokesperson said in an email.