Amazon Begins Quest For Second North American Headquarters

Friday, 08 Sep, 2017

Cities have until next month to apply through a special website, and the company said it will make a final decision next year.

Amazon now has its main headquarters spread across 33 buildings in Seattle but the company's aggressive expansion means it is quickly running out of space in the industrial city. Economic incentives and tax breaks from the county and the state will also undoubtedly be involved - Amazon has stated that will be a determining factor.

The mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, quickly expressed interest. And Amazon's arrival could transform an area: Until 10 years ago, the neighborhood near Seattle's campus just north of downtown was dotted with auto parts stores and low-rent apartments.

Toronto's mayor John Tory called the Canadian city a "prime candidate". We are very interested and are working with our regional Economic Development Partners to put together a compelling proposal. Pittsburgh also plans to compete.

Amazon's announcement about HQ2 comes at an interesting time. A section of the proposal that outlines those says "the initial cost and the ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers". The Wisconsin Foxconn factory will be in the home district of Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

Bids are due October 19 and the company said it expects to choose a site sometime next year.

Kentucky has always been competitive for the part of Amazon's business that involves moving packages around.

Amazon also said that it expects to hire new teams and executives at the HQ2 and that employees in "HQ1" could be given the opportunity to relocate to the second headquarter.

The news has many speculating about where Amazon could wind up, and whether Boston is a viable choice. Texas leads the way with the value of subsidies to Amazon, followed by Illinois, Kentucky, and OH, it said.

Amazon has certainly been diversifying lately, expanding into groceries and advertising, to name a few additional verticals - and it has been hiring sales staff to help grow its ad business - but it is not clear what the software developers at HQ2 will focus on.

Seattle has become an expensive city, ranking 44th on the Economist Intelligence Unit global cost-of-living ranking, making expansion in another state a potentially low-priced alternative, regardless of subsidies. His sense is that Amazon is looking for a base of operations on the eastern side of the country to compliment its Seattle home.