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Amazon Picks Manchester Over London for New U.K. Corporate Office

Nate Lanxon

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. opened its first corporate office in the U.K. not to be based in the nation’s capital city, instead choosing the northern city of Manchester for a new site.

The company said Thursday it’ll populate the six floors and 90,000 square feet it’s leased in the century-old Hanover Building with 600 new jobs “over time,” including software developers and branding specialists.

“We are already actively hiring,” Amazon U.K. Country Manager Doug Gurr said in a statement. As of Jan 15, the company had 19 open positions in Manchester classed as corporate, including a sales manager and a tax analyst.

A spokesman for Amazon separately said that although the retailer has other sites around the U.K. -- such as in Edinburgh, Cambridge, and parts of England’s north west -- they were primarily either R&D hubs or distribution centers.

In picking Manchester as a non-London hub for corporate roles, the retail giant follows the likes of the BBC, which over the past decade has created or moved thousands of jobs into a purpose-built site in nearby Salford. Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google both have outposts in Manchester.

Still, London’s appeal to investors continues to wildly outweigh that of cities like Manchester, Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh, all of which are home to top scientific universities and notable tech firms, but only accounted for about a fifth of Britain’s total 3.17 billion pounds of technology VC funding for the first half of 2019.

The new office is nestled in a district populated with trendy bars, theaters and cultural history. The city’s 15th-century cathedral is about as equal a walk away from Amazon’s northern home as the Manchester Arena concert venue.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nate Lanxon in London at nlanxon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net

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