Amazon has announced plans to open a second headquarters in North America and today launched a request for proposal (RFP) from local and state governments as it looks to pin down a site for the project. The new facility, announced as “Amazon HQ2,” will receive more than $5 billion for construction and is expected to house up to 50,000 new people, according to a press release issued by the company today.
Amazon is touting the new project’s broader impact on the local area and claims it will help create “tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment” in the vicinity.
The company has produced an eight-page RFP document, and submissions will be open from today until October 19, 2017. The final site selection will be revealed sometime in 2018.
Amazon recently revealed plans to increase its headcount by 55 percent to 280,000 in the U.S. over 18 months, and just yesterday the company announced that its first fulfillment center in New York state will be landing in Staten Island. A few months ago, Amazon posted 50,000 warehouse jobs in the U.S. alone. But the launch of a brand new HQ is a significant step, as the company looks to shift its center of gravity away from its native Seattle.
As Amazon solicits interest from cities around the country, it is quick to point out its Seattle credentials to bidding parties. The company claims that its investments in the area between 2010 and 2016 added an “additional $38 billion to the city’s economy” and says that “every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional 1.4 dollars for the city’s economy overall.”
Seattle is a longtime hub for at least two major U.S. technology companies — Microsoft and Amazon — but the latter is clearly outgrowing its home, which is spread across 33 buildings in the city.
Though the new flagship space is tentatively referred to as “HQ2,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos stressed that it won’t be regarded as a satellite office.
“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 for selecting a location, Amazon said that it’s targeting “stable and business-friendly” metropolitan areas with a population of at least one million people, and that it will consider both urban and suburban sites “with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.”
A key point worth noting is that Amazon is looking to appeal to talent with this secondary base, not just new hires but also existing staff who may wish to relocate. Amazon’s impact on the local Seattle economy is known to have driven housing prices up, and traffic problems are now 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 potential for gargantuan growth, it could also be offering employees more affordable environs while alleviating stress on the local Seattle community.