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Amazon proposes paying more than $845,000 to terminate Grand Forks lease early

GRAND FORKS, N.D.--Internet retail giant Amazon has proposed paying more than $845,000 to terminate its lease at a city-owned building in west Grand Forks.

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GRAND FORKS, N.D.-Internet retail giant Amazon has proposed paying more than $845,000 to terminate its lease at a city-owned building in west Grand Forks.

The Seattle-based company had been occupying about 29,000 square feet of the building at 1400 S. 48th St. in the Grand Forks Industrial Park since September 2011. But Amazon notified the city in April that it was exercising its right to terminate the lease after September 2018, according to a city staff memo published ahead of today's Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee meeting.

Amazon moved to a home-based staffing model for its Grand Forks customer service operations earlier this year.
But both the city and Amazon want to terminate the lease earlier than 2018, according to a lease termination agreement the Growth Fund Committee will consider today. That agreement stipulates that within 30 days of the early termination date of Sept. 14, Amazon will pay the city $845,279.82, which "shall satisfy any and all of (Amazon's) payment obligations" under the lease.

The money represents advance payment of about 90 percent of the total rent that would have been paid in 24 installments, as well as payment in full of the outstanding principal balance of a fit-up loan, according to the city staff memo.

Amazon's April notice also said it would work with the city to re-lease the space.

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"Re-lease opportunities were pursued at that time but no proposal has resulted," the memo states. City staff is continuing to seek a tenant for the space, according to the memo.

Amazon said in early March it would offer its 100-plus customer service employees in Grand Forks the option to work from home.

"It truly is basically the same role just with the flexibility of working from home," company spokeswoman Ashley Robinson said at the time.

The change is not expected to result in workforce reductions or affect Amazon's seller support operations at the city-owned facility at 1550 S. 48th St., according to the city memo.

Related Topics: AMAZONCITY OF GRAND FORKS
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