Amazon has triggered a $US5 billion bidding war -- here are 7 of the most ambitious site proposals for its new US headquarters

SOMA rendering of Chicago developers’ proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters.

In early September, Amazon announced that it plans to build a $US5 billion campus, dubbed HQ2, and bring 50,000 jobs to an undetermined North American location.

At least 50 cities in the United States and Canada are expected to submit proposals for sites they believe would be the best fit for the e-commerce giant.

For some cities, the offer sounds too good to pass up. Many are offering generous tax incentives and opportunities to develop huge swaths of land to the company.

Here are some of the most ambitious sites that cities are proposing for HQ2:

Chula Vista, California -- an 8 million-square-foot site near the US-Mexico border that would include 'the world's first binational university'

NV5 Global/City of Chula Vista

Chula Vista, a city 17km outside of downtown San Diego, California, promises to give Amazon 743,000 square metres of space next to a larger redevelopment project.

Called 'Millenia,' the 20-year project calls for 11 new neighbourhoods that will house approximately 60,000 new residents, according to the city. The plan mostly focuses on new housing, though it also includes a giant office park, more retail space, and a hotel.

The city's proposal, called 'Welcome Home Amazon,' also calls for the creation of 'the world's first binational university' near Amazon's headquarters -- which would have campuses in both California and Mexico.

Millennia will be completed whether or not the company comes. If Amazon picks Chula Vista, the deal will also include a $US400-million tax incentive package.

McKinney, Texas -- a 2,500-acre development for 30,000 people


The North Texas area is proposing several sites for Amazon's HQ, including one that would include a 1000ha planned district in McKinney, Texas, according to Dallas News.

Located around 55km miles outside Dallas' downtown, McKinney wants to entice Amazon to a $US300 million mixed-used development called Honeycreek. The first section, which will include 126ha of single-family residential units, commercial, and retail development, is set to open in 2019.

The project is expected to house 30,000 people, and include two lakes, 121ha of green space, farmers markets, a 80ha office park, and commercial space.

Dallas, Texas -- a development surrounding a proposed station for a $US15 billion bullet train

Texas Central Rail Co.

Developers from the firms Matthews Southwest and Texas Central Partners are pitching a transit-oriented development for Amazon's HQ2 campus, according to the Dallas Business Journal. It would surround a proposed station for a bullet train, which Dallas magazine reports is expected to cost $US15 billion. If approved by the city, the 385km line will transport passengers from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has formally expressed support for the train plan, which is likely to happen with or without Amazon. Developers hope to start construction on the development by late 2018.

Chicago, Illinois -- a redeveloped site of a former hospital


Chicago developers Farpoint Development and Draper & Kramer recently unveiled renderings of its bid, dubbed the 'Burnham Lakefront,' Curbed reports.

The plan, which will go ahead regardless of Amazon's choice, features a redevelopment of the former Michael Reese Hospital site near the city's South Side. The lakefront property has been vacant since the hospital was demolished in 2009.

Amazon's mixed-use campus could be as large as 1.3 million square metres, depending on market demand and tenant needs, the developers wrote in their bid. The site would have office space in high-rise towers, housing that would span 58ha, public plazas, landscaped bridges, and dedicated traffic lanes for autonomous vehicles.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- three sites that would collectively span 28 million square feet

Shop/West 8
A rendering of the Schuylkill Yards mixed-use development in Philadelphia.

Amazon said it was looking for existing buildings of at least 500,000 square feet and total site space of up to 8 million square feet.

Philadelphia would go above and beyond that requirement. Its officials are proposing three sites to Amazon that would collectively span an estimated 2.6 million square metres in the city, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The unfinished developments -- Schuylkill Yards, uCity Square, and Navy Yard -- already include millions of square metres of offices, retail, transit lines, and residential spaces.

Baltimore, Maryland -- a waterfront site planned by Under Armour's private development firm

Sagamore Development
An illustration of Port Covington, a planned district in Baltimore, Maryland.

Maryland governor Larry Hogan has promised Amazon space in Port Covington, a 235-acre, planned district in Baltimore, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The mixed-use, $US5.5 billion site, which will be anchored and developed by Under Armour, will feature 16ha of parks and green space, in addition to office, retail, and residential buildings. Construction began this year.

Hogan would not disclose any of the proposal's details, but sources have told The Sun the state's incentive package for Amazon would measure in the billions of dollars. Plans for Port Covington have garnered local controversy, since Baltimore City will pay $US535 million for its development.

Huntington and Long Beach, California -- three sites in a campus that would be named 'Amazon Coast'

City of Long Beach/City of Huntington

In a collective bid, Huntington and Long Beach, California have envisioned what they call 'Amazon Coast.'

It would be made up of three sites -- one in Huntington Beach (called 'Amazon Sand'), another along the Long Beach waterfront (called 'Amazon Sea'), and a third next to Long Beach Airport (called 'Amazon Air'). In total, the three sites would allow for 1.06 million square metres of space for Amazon.

Phoenix, Arizona -- a proposal to move inside a renovated shopping mall

Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies
A rendering of a plan to redevelop Park Central Mall in Phoenix.

Phoenix officials are pitching a redevelopment of the city's Park Central Mall to Amazon, according to multiple sources who spoke with the Phoenix Business Journal.

Park Central was the city's first mall when it opened in the 1950s. The mall's clothing stores shut down several years ago, and today there is just a Starbucks, a few restaurants, offices, and a data center.

Sacramento, California -- 12 potential sites, including a neighbourhood with 4,000 housing units

The Bridge District
The Bridge District in Sacramento, California.

The Sacramento area's HQ2 bid includes a dozen potential neighbourhoods for Amazon, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The regional proposal, which was submitted by the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, offers Sacramento's railyard area and the former Sleep Train Arena. The Bridge District, along with Sacramento County's Aerojet property, and nearby Folsom Ranch and Metro Air Park were also listed, among othe locations.

The sites include a mix of existing buildings and areas in development. For example, the Bridge District, a mixed-use neighbourhood that began construction in 2010, will include over 4,000 housing units and 520,000 square metres of commercial and retail space when complete, according to the city. The exact timeline for that project is not set.

New York City -- a bid that includes possible sites in three boroughs


New York City's HQ2 bid is offering sites in Midtown West, the Financial District, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, and Long Island City, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

In Midtown West, the city says there is over 2.4 million square metres of space -- in a range of building types from office towers to 'historic gems' -- for Amazon. There is over 1.2 million square metres of space available in Long Island City, and 790,000 square metres of potential space in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.

Finally, there is over 1.4 million square metres available for HQ2 in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, which includes DUMBO, the Brooklyn Navy Yards, and Downtown Brooklyn. The bid doesn't include specific design plans for any of the proposed sites.

'The case for New York City is simple: we are the global capital of commerce, culture and innovation,' NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote in a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, included with the proposal. 'No city has a greater diversity of talent, of industries, and of collisions that fuel great ideas and companies.'

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