May 14

Amazon Effect

Retailers are positioning themselves as the online giant’s brick-and-mortar ambitions unfold

By Joel Groover

Speculation about the real estate role of Amazon.com is growing as more information emerges about its closely held plans for U.S. stores. In metro Houston, to cite one market, brokers watch the local headlines for scoops on the Amazon rollout, and they tend to share any tidbits they happen to run across int eh field, says Jason Baker, co-founder of Houston-based brokerage firm Baker Katz, a member of X Team International. “I’ve been impressed with the way Amazon has kept its real estate plans quiet,” Baker said. “They’re evidently working on dozens of deals, but they have managed the process in such a way that the majority of the locations are still unknown.” In Houston the scuttlebutt is that Amazon is planning to open at least five grocery stores in suburban areas around the city, he says.

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