With the new campus, called HQ2, the e-commerce giant will bring 50,000 new jobs, making the offer one of the largest corporate-civic opportunities in recent American history.
Mayors from places like New York, Chicago, and Toronto have quickly outlined why Amazon should pick their cities.
One small Texan city, Frisco, says it will go above and beyond for the company. In an interview with The New York Times, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said he would build his city around Amazon.
“Our city’s only about 60% built out, so we’ve got a lot of available land where we can build to suit,” he said. “We play to win. We’re innovators. We’re forward thinkers, and we’re serious.”
Cheney has already sent a video to Amazon, even though formal city applications are not due until October 19. It opens with him holding an Amazon box, and ends with him asking an Amazon Alexa where the company should construct HQ2. (Spoiler: Its answer is Frisco.)
“Amazon, you’re growing your business, and we want to grow with you,” Cheney says in the video.
In Amazon’s initial announcement, it said it’s looking for at least a million people, an international airport, “special incentive legislation” (which could mean local subsidies or tax breaks), among other things.
Frisco, a city of 160,000, doesn’t come close to Amazon’s population requirement, but it has a track record of public-private partnerships. As Cheney says in the video above, Frisco has had longtime arrangements with large organisations like the Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas, and Jamba Juice. In 2015, for example, the city renovated the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium in a $US55 million public-private financing deal. And in 2016, the city paid for upgrades of Frisco’s main ballpark.
Building 40% of a city around a company sounds like it would take a public-private partnership to the next level — which could could be exactly what Amazon is looking for. Two decades after Amazon moved its first headquarters into Seattle, it now dominates a huge chunk of the city.
A recent analysis from The Seattle Times found that Amazon holds as much office space as the city’s next 40 biggest employers combined. And Amazon’s presence in Seattle is only growing larger. The company’s footprint is expected to expand from 8.1 million square feet to more than 12 million square feet by 2022.
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