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Originally published February 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Page modified February 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM

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Amazon will move headquarters to S. Lake Union complex

Seattle Times business reporter

The worst-kept secret in Seattle real estate is no longer a secret.

Amazon.com and developers Vulcan Real Estate and Schnitzer West announced this afternoon that the online retailer will move its corporate headquarters to South Lake Union.

The company will consolidate its now-scattered Seattle operations in up to 11 new buildings on six blocks bounded by John Street, Terry Avenue, Mercer Street and Boren Avenue, the companies said in a prepared statement.

Altogether, Amazon will lease up to 1.6 million square feet from Vulcan and Schnitzer, the firms said. Amazon said it expects to start moving in by mid-2010.

The company now occupies about 640,000 square feet in and around downtown Seattle, including 190,000 square feet at its current headquarters, the Pacific Medical Center on Beacon Hill.

Word of the company's move had been rumored for months. Wright Runstad, Amazon's landlord on Beacon Hill, said last month that it had started showing the Amazon space to prospective new tenants, even though its lease isn't scheduled to expire for more than two years.

The last apparent obstacle was removed Monday, when the City Council approved a land-use code change Vulcan had sought to allow taller buildings — up to 12 stories — on some of the property Amazon now will occupy.

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