Amazon Announces Search for a New $5 Billion HQ2

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Amazon is on a search to find the perfect home for a new headquarters.

The e-commerce giant announced plans to build an “HQ2” in a city-to-be-determined somewhere in North America.

The new Amazon campus will be a full equal to the company’s original home in Seattle, costing up to $5 billion to build and hosting up to 50,000 high-paying jobs. In a technology giant meets The Bachelor mashup, cities and local governments are invited to pitch Amazon on why they should bring the new HQ to their community.

Wherever the new campus calls home, it will be a major boon to the city, state and even the country. From 2010 to 2016, Amazon’s investments in Seattle resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy, according to the company’s release. Every dollar invested in Seattle by Amazon generated an additional 1.4 dollars for the city’s overall economy.

Amazon shared some other impressive figures about their HQ in Seattle that will be comparable to their HQ2 in a new city.
  • The campus has 33 buildings spanning 8.1 million square feet.
  • There are 24 restaurants and eight other services providing for 40,000 plus employees.
  • $43 million is paid each year into Seattle’s public transportation system via company benefits.
  • 53,000 additional jobs have been created in Seattle as a result of indirect investments.
Some preferences were listed for the city Amazon wants to build the new campus in. There has to be a metropolitan area with more than one million people, a stable and business-friendly environment, urban/suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong tech talent and communities that think big when it comes to locations and real-estate options. HQ2 can also be (but does not have to be necessarily) a downtown campus similar in layout to the Seattle home base that is already prepped for development. Amazon wants potential cities to think creatively for viable real estate options.

The company stresses that HQ2 will not be a satellite office but a fully fledged headquarters. New teams and executives will be hired, and in the future team leads can choose to locate their squads in Seattle or the new city. Current employees in Seattle can even switch to the new campus when it is completed if they so choose.

For an organization the size of Amazon, a move to split headquarters is unprecedented. It speaks to a few different things: perhaps Amazon is outgrowing Seattle and the tech boom it has seen over the past decade. Amazon is also notorious for its never-ending search for talent, so the move to open another head office, perhaps on the other side of the country, may draw in untapped markets towards the e-commerce behemoth.

The announcement is on the heels of Amazon’s first foray into the brick-and-mortar business, having recently closed a $13.7 billion deal with Whole Foods.

One can only speculate as to where the new HQ2 will be built, but according to the company’s standards, there are only a handful of choices that fit the mould. Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal jump out, while U.S. cities such as Austin, Phoenix or Boston jump out beyond the typical cities one might imagine a large company moving to. Amazon said North America, so even Mexico City could perhaps be an option.

Amazon ranks first on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and second on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies. In total, Amazon employs 380,000 people around the globe.

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