Amazon announced that they plan to build a second headquarters just as large as their current home in Seattle. Cities across North America are now scrambling to convince the e-commerce giant they’re the right place to move in.
Amazon is currently accepting proposals from communities across the US, Mexico, and Canada for the future site of “HQ2”. The massive second headquarters is expected to house 50,000 employees across buildings totaling 8 million square feet. Amazon plans to invest over $5 billion in construction and operation of the facilities, bringing tens of thousands of construction-related jobs with it.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home.”
Amazon encouraged communities to “think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options”
Of course, the company has some filters for what kind of community it’s looking to move into. It’s clearly more of a city kid, asking only locations with a minimum of a million people apply. It also wants a “stable and business-friendly environment” offering a destination its technical talent would enjoy moving to and living in.
But it doesn’t want to limit its options too much. Amazon encouraged communities to “think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options”. Tax credits and green lights to speed up construction are likely to rank highly favorably here.
Chicago city mayor Rahm Emanuel has reportedly already talked to Bezos about becoming Amazon’s next home, according to a spokesperson for Emanuel.
Amazon also makes it clear they want to give employees and teams the freedom to move around with the addition of the new site. Senior leaders will be allowed to decide which location their teams will work out of and individual employees can get an opportunity to move depending on what works best for them.
Today, Amazon employs an estimated 40,000 employees in their home office just North of Seattle’s downtown area. Unlike other tech companies like Google and Apple, which opt to build sprawling campuses away from urban centers, Amazon took a more integrated approach with its host city. The campus doesn’t have enough cafes to feed all its employees and workers have to find their own dry cleaners if they’re looking to get their clothes cleaned.
But unfortunately, it would seem Amazon may have outgrown its current home. Amazon has so transformed Seattle, that it now takes up as much office space as the city’s next 40 biggest employers combined. All that rapid growth is now stretching the city’s housing and transportation resources thin and contributed to their current housing crunch. Based on the company’s wishlist of urban amenities it wants in its new headquarters, it sounds like Amazon is trying to avoid those same growing pains this time around.
Amazon expects to announce its decision next year and will start work on the new campus by 2019.