Los Angeles Business Journal

Amazon May Be Looking to Book Space in L.A.

By Daina Beth Solomon Monday, March 13, 2017

Amazon.com Inc. announced plans last week to open its 10th bookstore in its hometown of Seattle. Los Angeles could be next.

Local brokers said the e-commerce giant has poked around several L.A. shopping districts and might have even shown serious interest in a major mall.

An Amazon spokeswoman would not discuss its plans, but Steve McClurkin, a leasing broker at EB Development in San Diego who represents Amazon’s bookstores, confirmed the e-tailer has been in the market for space in the region.

“We have been evaluating the Southern California market for a little over a year,” he said, adding that Amazon has scouted for options throughout the country.

Old Pasadena, Melrose Avenue, and Westfield Century City have been areas of interest, according to market sources.

“They were actively looking in Pasadena,” said Avison Young agent Derrick Moore, who has the listing for the former Kenneth Cole space on Colorado Avenue.

He said an Amazon representative was seeking about 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of ground-floor space a few months ago.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Jay Luchs said an Amazon representative asked several months ago to see listings on Melrose’s trendy shopping strip between West Hollywood and the Fairfax District.

Another possible landing spot is Westfield Corp.’s Century City mall, which is in the midst of a makeover projected to cost $1 billion. A broker who represents retail tenants said a Westfield representative recently indicated that Amazon would be taking space among the renovated storefronts.

A Westfield spokeswoman declined to comment on Amazon.

Amazon already holds space in other high-end Westfield properties – UTC mall in San Diego and Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.

There have also been rumors, still unconfirmed, that Amazon took a look at Westwood.

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in a shareholders meeting in May that the company is going to open additional stores, but has been tight-lipped on details.

Retail analyst Neil Saunders of GlobalData estimated that Amazon will open several hundred bookstores nationwide in the next decade, targeting markets with tech-savvy consumers and above-average income levels, such as Los Angeles.

“It’s about creating networks of space that they can use to support the whole brand,” he said.

Part of the strategy is to continue collecting data on Amazon customers, added Joe Schmitt, a retail analyst at AlixPartners.

“The information they have now online is second to none, but their ability to link that to in-store shopping habits is a hole,” he said.

Real estate reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @dainabethcita for the latest in L.A. real estate news.