Amazon is building a $5 billion secondary U.S. HQ and wants local governments to submit proposals

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Amazon has announced plans to open a second headquarters in the U.S., as the ecommerce giant today launches a request for proposal (RFP) for local and state governments.

The new facility, touted as “Amazon HQ2,” will see Amazon invest more than $5 billion for its construction as it looks to grow this secondary hub to house up to 50,000 new people, according to a press release issued by the company today.

The company is also selling the new project on its broader impact on the local area, as it claims it will help to create “tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment” in the vicinity.

Amazon has produced an eight-page RFP document, with submissions open from today until October 19, 2017. The final site selection will be revealed some time in 2018.

Hiring spree

Amazon recently revealed plans to increase its headcount by 55 percent to 280,000 globally over 18 months, and just yesterday the company announced its first fulfillment center in New York state will be landing in Staten Island. A few months earlier Amazon posted 50,000 warehouse jobs in the U.S. alone. But the launch of a brand new HQ is a significant step by the company, as it looks to move its center of gravity away from its native Seattle.

Indeed, Amazon is quick to tout its Seattle credentials for bidding parties. It claims that its investments in the area from 2010 to 2016 generated an “additional $38 billion to the city’s economy – every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional 1.4 dollars for the city’s economy overall,” the company said.

Above: Amazon in Seattle

Seattle is a long-established hub for at least two major U.S. technology companies in the form of Microsoft and Amazon, but the latter is clearly outgrowing its home, which is spread across 33 buildings in the city, and is now seeking somewhere else to build a flagship facility.

Though it is tentatively referred to as “HQ2,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos stressed that it won’t be regarded as a satellite office — it will be treated equally to its main base in Seattle.

“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Bezos. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.”

In terms of its criteria, Amazon said that it’s targeting “stable and business-friendly” metropolitan areas with a population of at least one million people, while it will consider both urban or suburban sites “with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.”

A key point worth noting here is that Amazon is looking to appeal to more talent through this secondary base, not just in terms of new hires but also existing staff who may wish to move elsewhere. Amazon’s impact on the local Seattle economy is known to have driven house prices up, while traffic problems are an issue too, causing some resentment in the area. Amazon said:

The company expects that employees who are currently working in HQ1 can choose to continue working there, or they could have an opportunity to move if they would prefer to be located in HQ2.

By looking to new horizons, Amazon is not only facilitating its anticipated gargantuan growth as a company, but it could also make its employees lives more affordable, while alleviating the stress on the local Seattle community.

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