Hundreds of cities bid to become home to second Amazon HQ

Warehouse floor Amazon distribution centre Phoenix Arizona (Reuters)

Warehouse floor Amazon distribution centre Phoenix Arizona (Reuters)

Amazon said this week it had received 238 pitches from places across North America vying to be home to its second headquarters.

It’s the prize of a lifetime — a $5-billion investment that will create 50 000 well-paid jobs that everyone wants, but only one city will get.

“We received 238 proposals from across North America for #HQ2,” the Seattle-based internet colossus said in a post from its official Twitter account.

“The team is excited to review each of them.”

From east to west and north to south, metropolises across the United States are locked in a frenzied bidding war, desperate to woo Amazon into favouring them as the site of the e-commerce giant’s second headquarters.

Proposals were also reported to have come from Canada and Mexico.

From $7-billion in tax breaks in Newark, New Jersey — which 50 years ago was aflame with deadly race riots — to a giant cactus shipped inter-state from Tucson in Arizona, bids ranged from the extremely ambitious to the silly before the deadline for submissions recently passed.

The e-commerce giant announced last month that it planned to invest more than $5‑billion in opening Amazon HQ2, a second company headquarters in North America that would also create tens of thousands of spin-off jobs.

“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” promised Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the US’s second-richest billionaire, who is worth $85.8‑billion.

The unusual announcement unleashed competitive streaks nationwide as some of the US’s most glittering cities vied with lesser-known backwaters seeking to exit oblivion.

In addition to direct hiring and investment, Amazon expects construction and operation of HQ2 to create thousands more jobs.

Amazon said in an online post that it is making the selection of its second headquarters a public process because “we want to find a city that is excited to work with us”.

It has expressed a preference for places with more than one million people, a business-friendly environment and urban or suburban locations able to attract and retain strong technical talent.

A study commissioned by World Business Chicago claimed that, in 17 years, HQ2 would generate $341‑billion in total spending, including $71‑billion in salaries. — AFP

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