Amazon has made Seattle the 'biggest company town' in US

Online retail giant Amazon has transformed Seattle into the "biggest company town" in the U.S., occupying 19 percent of the city's prime office space, according to the Seattle Times.

Amazon's offices occupy 8.1 million square feet, more than twice the space Citibank takes up in New York, the next biggest urban office campus in the country. It would take Seattle's 43 next largest companies combined to match the physical space occupied by Amazon. Seattle Times conducted the spatial analysis.

The country's next largest urban campus in terms of percentage is Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company in Columbus, Ohio, which occupies 16 percent of the city's Class A office space. However, Nationwide's square footage is less than half of Amazon's. Nevertheless, Amazon's footprint in the city is not merely physical.

Though it employed 4,000 people in 2010, today Amazon is home to 40,000 employees. The growth of high-paying Amazon jobs has led to rising housing costs and over-burdened public transportation, and some city residents have grown to resent the monolithic presence of the company. However, many others point to not only the donations the company has made toward public goods  — such as the University of Washington and homeless shelters — but also as its ripple effects on neighboring businesses.

"Actually the benefit to downtown is enormous," said Simon Stevenson, the director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington. "The development and revitalization would not have happened this quick without Amazon moving there and expanding that much."

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