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Could Your City Be Home to Amazon’s Second Headquarters?

Topics: Current Events
amazon's second headquarters
Robert Scoble/Flickr

If your metro area has over a million people, proximity to an international airport and room for 50,000 workers, it could be the location of Amazon’s new headquarters. On Thursday, the tech giant announced that it was seeking a site for a second location.

In its RFP, the company said that it preferred:

  • Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
  • A stable and business-friendly environment
  • Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
  • Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options

Nice-to-haves include an “urban or downtown campus, a similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus, [and] a development-prepped site.” Within these criteria, Amazon is open to cities throughout North America, including Canadian metro areas. The company is willing to consider existing structures, provided that they can be retrofitted in a timely fashion, and new construction.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

As an employer, Amazon offers competitive wages averaging six figures, plus benefits including health insurance, retirement plans and paid parental leave, including its Leave Share and Ramp Back Up program, which allows parents to share time off.

Needless to say, the response has been overwhelming.

“This is the trophy deal of the decade as far as I can tell,” said Greg LeRoy, the executive director of Good Jobs First, to The New York Times. “What governor or mayor doesn’t want to stand on a stage with Jeff Bezos to announce a deal like this?”

The Times reports that several cities have thrown their hat in the ring, including Chicago, Dallas and San Diego. Many others are expected to follow.

Will Amazon Come to Your City?

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at real estate data firm Zillow, provided Recode with a short list of potential sites for Amazon’s new HQ. Austin, Chicago and Denver were at the very top. The chief factors: city amenities, but room to grow — plus much cheaper housing than what’s available in current tech meccas like San Francisco or Seattle.

The Upshot at The New York Times came up with their own short list; Denver was the winner:

The city’s lifestyle and affordability, coupled with the supply of tech talent from nearby universities, has already helped build a thriving start-up scene in Denver and Boulder, 40 minutes away. Big tech companies, including Google, Twitter, Oracle and I.B.M., have offices in the two cities. Denver has been attracting college graduates at an even faster rate than the largest cities. The region has the benefits of places like San Francisco and Seattle — outdoor recreation, microbreweries, diversity and a culture of inclusion (specifically cited by Amazon) — but the cost of living is still low enough to make it affordable, and lots of big-city refugees have been moving there for this reason. Amazon would be smart to follow them.

Of course, there’s always the chance that Amazon will decide to range outside the U.S. for its new HQ.

“Given our current immigration policy, especially on the tech side, it might be smart to consider Canada,” Gudell said.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think your city should be the site of Amazon’s new headquarters? We want to hear from you. Make your case in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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