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Amazon purchased a coveted 193-acre parcel of land just outside Round Rock, Texas, when it went on the market last fall.  

Amazon purchased a coveted 193-acre parcel of land just outside Round Rock, Texas, when it went on the market last fall.  

Photographer: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg

Amazon Builds Property Empire, Quietly Buying Land Across the US

The company has spent billions of dollars on real estate it plans to use for a new generation of multi-story warehouses. Now online sales growth is slowing.

The 193 acres just outside Round Rock, Texas, were coveted by some of the biggest developers in the US. Located a few miles north of the booming city of Austin, the raw parcel could be used for virtually anything given the state’s lenient land-use laws. So when the prominent Robinson family put the property on the market last year, there was strong interest from a range of real estate players, including home builders, private equity giant Blackstone Inc. and Prologis Inc., an industrial landlord that rents out warehouses across the country. But when the successful bidder emerged in October, it wasn’t a real estate firm. It was the world’s largest e-commerce company: Amazon.com Inc.

Starting about three years ago, the Seattle-based colossus quietly began searching for property in key US markets such as Southern California, Texas, Illinois, Florida and the Bay Area. Between 2020 and 2022, Amazon tripled the amount of built industrial space it owns in North America, according to company filings. Sometimes Amazon buys existing buildings, such as defunct call centers, but it also purchases bare land, of which the company acquired about 4,000 acres in the same period, says real estate researcher CoStar Group Inc. Amazon plans to use much of the real estate for a new generation of towering fulfillment centers that can store a wide variety of products close to customers in populous areas, according to people familiar with the strategy.