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Wayfair moving its headquarters to Copley Place

Online retailer Wayfair LLC is moving its corporate headquarters to Copley Place, following a decade of growth that has taken the company from a South End town house to one of the Back Bay’s largest commercial properties.

Wayfair, which is also planning an initial public stock offering, will occupy 105,000 square feet in the massive Back Bay office and retail complex. It is expected to relocate from 177 Huntington Ave. in mid 2014.

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“We’ve always liked the Back Bay,” said Niraj Shah, chief executive of Wayfair, which has bounced around the neighborhood over the last decade. “We’re excited about the space and the building, and the ability it gives us to expand over time.”

As a growing company, Wayfair was a significant prize in the commercial real estate market, attracting interest from several landlords in greater Boston. Its decision to move to Copley Place will keep a major technology company in the Back Bay, a market that has traditionally been more attractive to financial services companies and law firms.

“This is a major long-term commitment and it’s very good for the Back Bay,” said Michael Joyce, a partner with the real estate firm Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, which represented Wayfair in the transaction. “It’s good for the area to establish a technology foundation and build on that.”

An executive with Simon Property Group, the owner of Copley Place, said Wayfair will bring younger employees and a more contemporary vibe to the property. The company will occupy space on five floors in tower 4, where it is also planning to build a roof deck.

“This throws open the door for dot.com and other start-up companies to take a look at Copley Place,” said Brian Jenkins, a vice president for Simon Property Group. “It’s a great shot in the arm.”

Simon Property Group was represented by CBRE New England.

Wayfair, formerly known as CSN Stores, boasts the largest selection of home goods in North America and recently reported a 40 percent increase in its first-quarter sales. The company said total orders on its three retail websites, Wayfair.com, Joss & Main, and AllModern.com, grew to nearly $200 million for the period, compared with about $140 million during the same time last year.

Like many online retailers, Wayfair is riding a tremendous wave of growth in Internet shopping. The online retail market is expected to hit $262 billion this year and top $370 billion by 2017, according to Forrester Research of Cambridge.

Shah said the company considered moving to downtown, Cambridge, or the South Boston Innovation District, but ultimately decided Copley Place offered the most flexibility and room to grow. “Our desire is to make it an amazing office space,” Shah said. “We don’t just want it to be beautiful, but a comfortable place that our employees will really enjoy.”

Over the past year, Wayfair has grown from 900 employees to 1,250. It also has raised $36 million in venture capital from such firms as Battery Ventures and Spark Capital as part of its effort to expand and increase its visibility.

If Wayfair eventually launches an IPO — Shah said the timing remains uncertain — it would become one of the few public consumer Internet companies based in Massachusetts. Staples Inc. of Framingham operates the second-biggest store on the Web behind Amazon.com, according to Internet Retailer.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.
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