- Proposals are due on Thursday from all cities vying to become the future site of Amazon HQ2.
- Donald Bren, the richest real estate developer in the US, wrote a letter on behalf of his company to Jeff Bezos, offering to finance the entire $US5 billion project.
- Irvine, California is already home to hundreds of other top tech companies, as well as a 1,200-person Amazon outpost.
The fight for Amazon’s HQ2 has reached a fever pitch.
Proposals are due on Thursday from cities across the US and Canada interested in becoming the future site of Amazon’s second headquarters, and one Southern California city is taking desperate measures to clinch Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ attention.
Donald Bren, the multi-billionaire owner of the Irvine Company, wrote a letter to Bezos on behalf of his company and in companion with the city of Irvine.
In it, he offers to finance the entirety of HQ2 — which Amazon projects will cost about $US5 billion — if the e-commerce giant chooses Irvine. The offer is billed by Bren as “a one-click shopping opportunity” for Amazon.
“With the Irvine Company proposal, Amazon will not be required to invest capital for land acquisition, buildings, or entitlements to build your new business campus. Our company has the long-term real estate assets, capital resources, and flexibility to deliver all your required workspace with lease durations of Amazon’s choosing.
“In essence, you would have a one-click shopping opportunity and be able to capitalise on our inplace property development rights, thus avoiding potential delays, because Irvine Company has invested more than 60 years master planning 93,000 acres of land, and designing and overseeing the creation of the largest new city in America…Irvine, California.”
Over 250,000 people live in Irvine and it’s often regarded as the epicentre of Orange County, an affluent coastal community sandwiched between San Diego to the South and Los Angeles to the North.
Amazon says its new HQ2 will eventually house 50,000 mostly white-collar workers making an average of over $US100,000 a year. That’s currently about the average income for workers in Irvine.
Bren — who’s worth a cool $US17 billion — is the chairman of the Irvine Co., which owns about one-fifth of the land in Orange County spread across office, retail, and apartment space, as well as golf courses and hotel resorts.
In the letter, Bren positions Irvine as the ideal candidate for Amazon because “Irvine is ranked by various sources as America’s fastest growing, most desirable, best educated, safest, and healthiest large city,” he writes.
More than 900 tech companies, such as Google, Broadcom, Blizzard Entertainment, UBS, and Verizon have offices in Irvine, and Amazon already has a 1,200-person outpost in the city.
Southern California is home to the biggest pool of STEM workers in the US, according to the Irvine Company proposal. The University of California, Irvine, a top-ranked public university located in Orange County, awards 42% of its undergraduate students with STEM degrees annually.
At the end of the letter, Bren makes one final plea to his fellow billionaire: “It’s 74 degrees on this beautiful October day, the sun is out and the surf’s up at our spectacular beaches. Please come join us! The water, like the place, is the perfect temperature.”
Read Donald Bren’s letter to Jeff Bezos in full below:
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