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Amazon expands UK presence with central London office lease

Amazon has signed the lease on prime central London offices to accommodate 1,600 staff as it expands further into sectors such as book publishing and television production.

The web retail giant’s British headquarters will remain in Slough but it will fill 12 floors covering 210,000 sq ft at 60 Holborn Viaduct, a new development opposite Smithfield Market. Amazon said several hundred existing employees would move to the new site by the end of the year.

The curved glass and steel building has replaced Bath House, a 1960s concrete block that housed a BT telephone exchange. Construction was put on hold when the financial struck hit in 2008 but was resumed in 2010 and is due to be completed this summer.

“This new office location will provide the space we require for hundreds of our existing employees as well as many more that we will hire in the future,” said Amazon UK managing director Christopher North.

It is Amazon’s second major property investment in the capital in less than a year and comes as the company faces criticism over its avoidance of British taxes. Its most recent accounts showed it received more in government grants than it paid in corporation tax in 2012.

“Amazon has over 6,000 permanent employees in the UK and we will continue to create thousands of jobs in the coming years across the UK,” said Mr North.

Google, also targeted by MPs and campaigners over its tax avoidance, has also pointed to its planned £1bn investment in new offices at King’s Cross as evidence of its contribution to the British economy.

The May of London Boris Johnson welcomed Amazon’s latest property deal.

“This is excellent news for London’s continued growth as a leading global hub for tech talent,” he said.
In July Amazon opened a 47,000 sq ft centre for developing its on-demand video service LoveFilm near the Barbican to take advantage of the pool of web development talent in Shoreditch.

Source : Christopher Williams – The Telegraph

02 June 2013
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