Amazon Plans New Central London Presence

Company may hire up to 1,600 to staff new site, which will serve as base for new business ventures in areas including TV production and book publishing.

Amazon plans to expand its U.K. operations into central London, opening a new 12-story, 120,000 square-foot site at 60 Holborn Viaduct. The new facility will serve as a base for new business ventures in book publishing and TV content production. The first phase of the building's development is due for completion in the fall, with Amazon planning to move several hundred existing employees to the new office by the end of 2013.

The move will also boost Amazon's U.K. headcount from its current 6,000 to more like 7,600, according to the firm's U.K. managing director, Christopher North. "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," he said.

Last September, Amazon opened a global digital media development center in another part of central London, The Barbican. In January the company reported that it had hired 100 new team members, with an additional 100 slated to be recruited this year.

[ Will Amazon's plan to expand its facilities and headcount help appease grumbling over taxes? Read Debate Grows Over Big Tech Taxes. ]

London's colorful Tory major, Boris Johnson, touted the new facility as "excellent news for London's continued growth as a leading global hub for tech talent," a clear reference to his own determination to make the ancient city a true 21st-century digital contender. "Whether a giant or an exciting new start-up, London is proving time and time again that we have the right places and people to support this vibrant sector," Johnson added.

Amazon's North said, "We look forward to drawing from the capital's strong pool of talent as we continue to innovate and enhance our service for the benefit of all our customers."

Amazon reported that its sales in the U.K., including its Lovefilm digital content DVD rental and streaming service and other non-retail activities, totaled £4.1 billion ($6.3 billion) in 2012.

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