Amazon has sparked a bidding war, and it’s only just beginning.
The ecommerce giant said on Thursday that it was soliciting bids from cities across North America for a place to build its second headquarters — its first outside of the Seattle area.
Amazon said it would be investing $US5 billion ($AU6.21 billion) in the construction of its new headquarters, and it hopes to eventually house 50,000 Amazon staff there, gradually building up its workforce over time.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home.”
Unsurprisingly, cities across the United States and Canada are jumping on the opportunity to lure Amazon to their neck of the woods. Many officials have already said they’re planning to submit a formal proposal to the company.
Amazon has some requirements, however. Its new home would ideally be in a city with at least a million people, an international airport, and a “stable and business friendly environment.”
Of course, that means cities will need to offer incentives to the company in order for it to move there.
“Incentives offered by the state/province and local communities to offset initial capital outlay and ongoing operational costs will be significant factors in the decision-making process,” the company said.
We’ve found nearly 50 cities whose officials have said they are looking into or preparing to submit a proposal to Amazon. Bids are due October 19.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already spoken to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the possibility of opening a headquarters in the city. Several other corporations -- including McDonald's, Kraft Heinz, and Conagra Brands -- have recently planned to move their base from the suburbs to this Midwestern hub.
Toronto Major John Tory called the race for the Amazon headquarters 'the Olympics of bidding.'
'We should be bidding for this and be very, very competitive and I'm in the midst of talking to the other governments to make sure that's what we do,' he said Thursday, according to The Toronto Star.
'San Diego has the geographic proximity to international markets, unparalleled quality of life and workforce talent that companies like Amazon are looking for, so Mayor (Kevin) Faulconer's office has directed the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. to coordinate a regional response,' Matt Awbrey, Faulconer's deputy chief of staff, said in a statement, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Mike Rosa, senior vice president for economic development of the Dallas Regional Chamber, told the Dallas Morning News that the group has 'communicated to Amazon our intent to respond' to the call for proposals.
'This is a megaprospect, and we have already initiated conversations with our economic development partners at the state and regional level to thoroughly consider the best possible fit for Denver and the region,' said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, according to the Denver Post.
'With an unmatched portfolio of technological talent and intriguing development parcels, Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to submit a winning bid for Amazon's facility,' Mayor Bill Peduto said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Both city and state officials expressed interest in petitioning Amazon for the headquarters opportunity. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said the city would 'pursue this opportunity aggressively,' the Baltimore Sun reported.
State and local officials told the Boston Globe that they would put together a bid to make Boston the site of Amazon's new HQ. They said they will likely use a revised verion of the argument that lured GE to the city.
Western Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley, which includes the city of Springfield, also said that it was prepping a bid for Amazon's consideration.
The director of economic development for the city told The Phoenix Business Journal
the region can be 'very competitive' for the headquarters, though officials have not said definitively if they will be seeking a bid.
Officials stopped short of stating they would place a bid, but they did say they would be pursuing the opportunity.
Brian Kenner, the district's deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said, 'The District is positioned to be a desirable location for Amazon's East Coast headquarters.'
Yelp recently decided to move into the capital, and Bezos is currently renovating a large mansion in the town.
'I welcome the opportunity to compete for this remarkable investment, and the tens of thousands of good-paying jobs it is sure to bring with it,' Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in his statement to the Los Angeles Times.
'I'm proud to say Milwaukee meets all your requirements and even prouder to say our incredible renaissance would complement your vision,' Mayor Tom Barrett wrote in a letter to Bezos, describing the city's intent to place a bid.
A spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNBC, 'We are very interested in the possibility of Amazon locating a headquarters in the five boroughs, and believe the city's competitive advantages position it well.'
'Our team is getting (the proposal together) and we're still looking at it -- but on the face of it, it is a pretty exciting opportunity,' Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh said to the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told CNBC: 'We have the workforce, infrastructure and quality of life that all major corporations look for in a location. In coordination with the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, Team San Antonio is ready to show that our city is in the most competitive position possible when those opportunities arise and when they align with community priorities.'
At least one city official thinks London would be a good fit for Amazon -- Ward 7 councillor Josh Morgan tweeted: 'This opportunity has the potential to be transformational for the City of London and SW Ontario. I'll be raising it at Committee next week.'
John Rago, the mayor's deputy chief of staff for policy and communications, said the city is 'on this big time,' according to Technical.ly Delaware.
He continued: 'This is an exciting opportunity and we are putting together a good case for why Amazon would find Wilmington to be a welcoming and supportive home for the company's headquarters.'
'Rhode Island is in the game,' Matthew Sheaff, spokesman for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, told the Providence Journal, adding that it's too early to tell what specific location the state will pitch to Amazon.
'We will work with (the Albany-based Center for Economic Growth) and others to develop a proposal for Amazon,' Marty Vanags, the president of Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, told Albany Business Review. Saratoga County is one of the neighbouring counties of Albany. The capital region would need to bound together all nearby counties in their bid to meet Amazon's one-million population requirement.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told CNBC: 'We're excited to explore the Amazon HQ2 project and the benefits it could bring to our community, as well as our region. At an estimated 50,000 employees, the project would have a profound impact on Bay Area residents, and in the midst of a statewide housing affordability crisis, we would need to address all outcomes a project of this magnitude would create.'
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