Amazon Repurposing Old Infrastructure

Venture will increase its number of employees in Canada by fifty percent.

Some of the saddest architectural issues for any region of a country are the shuttered doors on a vast building, one that serves as a constant reminder that there used to be a thriving industry there. Whether it’s an old factory that has long since closed down or a major retailer store that has moved on, the empty building and unkempt lot can actually prevent new industries from coming in under the assumption that the town is dying.

Amazon is the latest company to get in on the bargains of repurposed real estate, while simultaneously re-energizing the area of town. In this case, it’s a gutted yet historic building in Vancouver, the site of a once-grand post office. The iconic location will be turned into a tech hub for the company. The new offices will be built on top of the old post office as a base, blending new and old in an interesting, refreshing design.

Amazon is the latest company to get in on the bargains of repurposed real estate.

Amazon is the latest company to get in on the bargains of repurposed real estate.

9,000 staff

According to Gizmodo, this venture will increase Amazon’s number of employees in Canada by half, upping the current number to 9,000 when the project is completed. The new building will house technology employees rather than product distribution employees, so think more Amazon S3 web server work than sending out toys from your wish list.

Some may argue that Amazon is cashing in on the down on its luck building, but Amazon certainly had the means to either build from scratch or tear down the structure to build in its place. It’s a classy move to keep the building as the base layer of the new office tower, given its status.

Plenty of choice

One thing about the real estate issue is certain: there’s plenty to go around. Walmart closed more than 150 of its stores across the US in 2016 alone, along with another 60 or so Sam’s Clubs locations. There will soon be plenty of Toys-R-Us stores standing vacant–more than 800, actually–along with Sears, which began the closure process some time ago. This would be a good time for startups to get some cheap office space, if they don’t mind the dark, cavernous feel of the remaining 100,000 square feet they don’t need.


There have been intentional efforts to take up these empty spaces and repurpose them. In one city alone, two empty Walmarts and an empty KMart have been bought and reused as Verizon call centers, smaller divided retails stores, and even a charter school. (As to why a town with a population well under one million people thought it could support three “big box stores” in addition to the ones that remain in operation, that’s anyone’s guess.)

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