Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) is shopping for some expensive new digs in New York.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the e-tailer aims to expand from the 100,000 square feet of office space it occupies in Manhattan. Amazon reportedly wants to boost its footprint to as much as five times that square footage, making for one of the largest corporate expansions in the city in years.
But it would be just another real estate record for Amazon. Back in October the company spent $1.4 billion to buy the nearly 2-million-square-foot headquarters that it had been leasing in Washington state. That purchase was so big that The Seattle Times called it "arguably the richest office deal in Seattle's history."
Thanks to the huge price tag on the deal, Amazon's capital expenditures rose to $3.8 billion in 2012, or 111% higher than the year before. It was also a major drag on free cash flow, which was down by 81% versus 2011.
There's a bit of a trend of tech companies investing heavily in their office spaces right now. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) is looking to rebuild its Googleplex headquarters from the ground up. The company just shared early drawings of the project with Vanity Fair. Spanning over 1 million square feet, it is still laid out so that no employee will be more than a 2.5-minute walk from any other employee.
NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA ) also just unveiled plans for its new headquarters. The company aims for the building to be nothing less than a symbol of NVIDIA's vision. Like Google's plan, this one prioritizes the ease of communication. NVIDIA says the building was designed "above all for collaboration."
Amazon's Manhattan expansion might not have the same type of unique (and expensive) architectural innovations that NVIDIA or Google are after. But that doesn't mean it won't be audacious. One World Trade Center, which will be the tallest building in North America when completed, is reportedly on the list of potential sites that Amazon is considering.
Whatever the location, though, it looks like Amazon's splashy real estate spending in 2012 wasn't a one-time thing. The company is looking to book big property deals this year, too.
A prime investment?
Amazon's potential new office isn't the only aspect of the company reaching for the clouds these days. With its sky-high valuation, most investors are worried it's Amazon's share price that will get knocked down instead of its competitors'. We'll tell you what's driving the company's growth, and fill you in on reasons to buy and reasons to sell Amazon
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