Phillips & Angley

Amazon secretly behind huge new real estate development

Some real estate deals have the potential to change an entire local economy. When Internet giant Amazon announced it was looking for areas to host a new headquarters, cities in Massachusetts and all over the country fought for what they hoped would be a great opportunity.

Amazon has also attracted a lot of attention for its distribution centers, but these are more controversial. In its efforts to increase the speed of deliveries, the company has been opening giant distribution centers all over the nation. However, rather than try to get cities to compete to host these operations, Amazon has kept quiet about them until the last minute.

Early this spring, a real estate company announced it was developing a 3.6 million-square-foot distribution center in Andover for an e-commerce business, but would not reveal the name of the company that wanted the space. At hearings with local government organizations, the developers said they were bound by a non-disclosure agreement and could not name the customer that had hired them. It wasn't until late May that the real estate developer confirmed what many people had suspected: The company that wants the space is Amazon.

Amazon distribution centers have been controversial. While consumers love the convenience of online shopping, and many communities are happy to welcome new jobs, labor rights activists have criticized Amazon for what they say are relatively low pay rates and poor working conditions at the centers.

Large-scale real estate development requires a lot of political savvy, as well as legal and business knowledge. Developers can talk to lawyers who understand the law, the market and the political considerations involved in new projects.

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