AMAZON SHOPPING FOR SECOND HEADQUARTERS WORTH $5 BILLION
Amazon is selling something new: up to 50,000 jobs at a $5 billion home base that would be a “full equal” to its Seattle headquarters.
The online retailer said Thursday it is soliciting bids from metropolitan areas in North America that are willing to offer incentives, exemptions and tax credits. It expects to choose a location next year.
“Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs,” CEO Jeff Bezos said. “We’re excited to find a second home.”
The company expects to hire up to 50,000 new full-time workers with an average salary of $100,000 over the next 10 to 15 years, so it’s looking for a place that can “attract and retain strong technical talent.” It wants HQ2 to have access to mass transit and be close to major highways, education centers and an international airport.
On Thursday, Oakland issued a statement about exploring a bid for HQ2, joining a rush of cities expressing interest. “Oakland always seeks to attract jobs and prosperity to our great city,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a prepared statement. “We’re excited to explore the Amazon HQ2 project and the benefits it could bring to our community, as well as our region.” The statement cautioned that in the midst of the region’s housing affordability crisis, the city would need to “address all outcomes a project of this magnitude would create.”
And in San Jose, the city’s director of economic development, Kim Walesh, said, the city is reviewing the Amazon request for proposals “very carefully.”
Walesh said in an emailed statement, “We believe that San Jose is an ideal city for Amazon’s consideration, as we attract world-class tech talent, we have diverse real estate sites available, and an excellent transit infrastructure. And of course, we’ve got the weather.”
According to Amazon’s requirements, the company is looking for its HQ2 to have a minimum of 500,000 square feet during the first phase, which it is expecting to build in 2019. But it envisions up to 8 million square feet beyond 2027; its current headquarters occupies 8.1 million square feet.
Cities and states are likely to scramble to meet the Oct. 19 deadline for first bids as they consider the stakes. According to media reports, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis and Pittsburgh have all expressed interest or said they plan to submit bids, as have Toronto and the state of Kentucky.
Besides Amazon’s projections for its future home, it is touting its major impact on Seattle: The company has more than 40,000 employees at its current headquarters, and estimates that it has brought an additional 53,000 jobs to the area and invested an additional $38 billion in Seattle’s economy.
The company’s search for a new headquarters comes in the wake of other recent big moves, including the completion of its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods and an announcement in January that it will create 100,000 new jobs by 2018, as it continues to add fulfillment centers around the country.
Wednesday, Amazon announced plans to open its first fulfillment center in New York, a facility on Staten Island that is expected to bring about 2,250 new jobs.