Business

Where could Amazon fit 50,000 workers if it comes to Boston?

NorhtPoint, the 45-acre former railyard on the Cambridge-Boston-Somerville line, is close to both Kendall Square and downtown Boston and large enough to fit what Amazon envisions.

David L Ryan/Globe Staff

NorthPoint, the 45-acre former railyard on the Cambridge-Boston-Somerville line, is close to both Kendall Square and downtown Boston and large enough to fit what Amazon envisions.

Amazon announced plans on Thursday for a massive new campus to serve as its second corporate headquarters. While the e-commerce giant is launching a nationwide search for the site, it has a large and growing presence in Greater Boston, and state and local officials here appear likely to pursue the project, which could eventually employ 50,000 well-paid professionals.

But where could you fit that many people in one place in Boston? Amazon says it wants as much as 8 million square feet, with transit access. Here are a few sites in Greater Boston that could be big enough for what Amazon has in mind.

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 NorthPoint: The 45-acre former railyard on the Cambridge-Boston-Somerville line is close to both Kendall Square and downtown Boston and large enough to fit what Amazon envisions. Bonus: It’s getting its own T stop as part of the Green Line extension to Somerville.

Kendall Square

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Kendall Square

 Kendall Square: MIT has multiple development sites in the works, including a string of office buildings along Main Street, and the 14-acre federal Volpe transportation center. Cobbled together, those could be big enough for Amazon, which already employs hundreds of software engineers in the neighborhood and might like being at MIT’s front door.

Government Center Garage

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Government Center Garage

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 Downtown Boston: Amazon aims to start off with a single building of about 500,000 square feet, which could lead it to any one of several downtown office towers that are under development or have not begun construction for lack of a tenant. Those include the complex slated for the Government Center garage, the Millennium Partners project in Winthrop Square, the Seaport Square campus on the waterfront, and possibly even Don Chiofaro’s tower near the aquarium.

Any one of those could serve as a launch pad for Amazon to grow into additional space. That’s what the company did in its hometown, where Amazon now occupies nearly one-fifth of the top-tier office space in downtown Seattle.

Suffolk Downs

David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs: Housing is the plan for most of the 161-acre former horsetrack that was bought by big developer HYM Investments earlier this year. But the prospect of Amazon could change that. It may come cheaper than some other sites near the core of the region, and it’s just 15 minutes from downtown Boston on the Blue Line.

Reebok Headquarters in Canton.

File/Boston Globe

Reebok Headquarters in Canton

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 Reebok Headquarters: Reebok is selling its 65-acre campus in Canton as the shoemaker prepares to move to the Seaport. It may not be the urban site that most would expect, but there would be room to grow.

The South Weymouth Naval Air Station.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The South Weymouth Naval Air Station

 Union Point: Another suburban site, the old South Weymouth Naval Air Station is primed for a massive redevelopment and looking for a prime tenant. At 1,500 acres, it’s plenty big, and has commuter rail to and from South Station.

Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.
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