The Amazon HQ2 Buzz

The Amazon HQ2 Buzz

Today’s Morning Buzz is about the buzz around Amazon HQ2. Earlier this month, Amazon released an RFP for establishing a second corporate headquarters. Economic Development directors across the country immediately started salivating. The RFP describes the project to include hiring up to 50,000 employees with an average annual total compensation exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) over the next ten to fifteen years and over $5 billion in capital expenditures.

The opportunity has created quite a buzz across the continent with cities big and small discussing their intention to submit a proposal. Here’s some of the latest stories to catch you up:

  • More than 100 cities start courting Amazon for its HQ2: The Amazon gold rush is on. At least 101 cities, states, provinces and counties in the U.S. and Canada have indicated they are interested in the Seattle company’s second headquarters in the week since Amazon announced it was seeking bidders for the megaproject. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Dear Amazon, We Picked Your New Headquarters for You: Amazon has set off a scrum among cities that are hoping to land the company’s second headquarters — with the winner getting the prize of a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs over the next two decades. We’re offering to help, using Amazon’s own criteria to identify a winning city. (NYTimes)
  • Cities want Amazon’s HQ2 jobs, but what about its culture?: Recent news reports about working conditions at Amazon suggest employees might pay a hefty personal price for those lucrative benefits the company is promising its suitors. (Yahoo News)
  • Amazon, here’s $1 billion. Now, bring Atlanta 50,000 jobs: Amazon could make the most gargantuan of deliveries to metro Atlanta. We just have to give the online giant encouragement. Like maybe way more than $1 billion. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • New York wants Amazon’s new headquarters, says city beats ‘burbs: New York City is officially throwing its hat in the ring to lure Amazon.com Inc’s proposed second headquarters, hoping its large, diverse workforce, extensive university system, big-city living and status as an epicentre of industry will overcome its major drawback as one of the country’s most expensive housing markets. The city is highlighting the example of Alphabet Inc’s Google, which has 5,000 employees in Manhattan, as a prime example of how West Coast tech can thrive in the Big Apple. (The Star)
  • Hey, Amazon: How about North Dakota?: So how about the Red River Valley? Think about what this would mean for a city, state and geographic region. Amazon seeks a location within 30 miles of an international airport and with easy access to major highways. It will need a great amount of space — millions of square feet in the next 10 years. The valley has airports, major highways and plenty of open space. (Grand Forks Herald)
  • New Orleans should go after Amazon HQ2 or put its future in hospice care: There may be dozens of reasons to think that New Orleans will not be selected as the home for Amazon’s new $5 billion, 50,000-job, 8 million square-feet second headquarters complex. But I can’t think of a single reason the city shouldn’t try. (Times-Picayune)
  • Emanuel says bid for Amazon HQ2 will be ‘all hands on deck’: Mayor Rahm Emanuel laid out an ambitious full-court press on Thursday to woo Amazon to build its second headquarters in Chicago, saying the city is perfectly positioned to give the massive company everything it’s seeking. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Dan Gilbert leading Super Bowl-like bid for Amazon headquarters in Detroit: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he asked Quicken Loans Founder Dan Gilbert to lead a Super Bowl-like committee to come up with a proposal to bring Amazon’s second headquarters, being called “HQ2,” to Detroit. (WXYZ Detroit)
  • Collierville wants Amazon HQ too: Collierville officials say they are preparing a pitch for the much coveted Amazon HQ2, a second North American headquarters that could employ up to 50,000 people over the next 10-15 years. “Why not? said John Duncan, Collierville’s director of economic development. “When you look at their checklist and our assets, we match up pretty closely to what they’re looking for. We’re very excited and bullish on what we can offer an organization like Amazon.” (The Commercial Appeal)
  • Does KC have a shot at Amazon HQ2?: If Kansas City is to stand a snowball’s chance of landing Amazon’s second headquarters, we’ve got work to do. We’ll have to overcome our existing shortage of tech talent. We’ll need not only to build a new airport terminal but also turn it into a sparkling international launch pad. And make public transportation here a snap. We’ll need to throw millions of dollars in economic incentives at one of the biggest companies in the world. (Kansas City Star)
  • Concord bids to host Amazon’s second headquarters: Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco are in the running as obvious local candidates. But last week another Bay Area metro stepped up to the plate: Concord contends that it can acclimate Amazon better than its neighbors to the west and the south. Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister made a bid to Amazon, advertising “plentiful office options, often priced at a quarter of what is offered in nearby San Francisco and half the prices in Oakland.” (CurbedSF)
  • Philly garners Amazon HQ support with #PhillyDelivers campaign: It’s only been 10 days since Amazon announced its plans for a second headquarters, and since then the Internet giant has seen more suitors than Rachel Lindsay. But who will win as Amazon continues its journey to find true love an ideal home? As Philadelphia has gotten support from economists and others, the City of Philadelphia decided Friday to kick it up a notch and launch its #PhillyDelivers campaign, with Mayor Jim Kenney tweeting out a request to Philadelphians. (Philly Voice)
  • Tucson just isn’t an Amazon HQ town: The symbol of Tucson that local officials wanted Jeff Bezos to see was right there before us at a press conference Wednesday. It was a striking Southern Arizona saguaro, 21-feet tall, destined for Seattle in an effort to catch the Amazon CEO’s attention and make him want to put the company’s new headquarters here. (Arizona Daily Star)
  • Commentary: Why no city should want Amazon’s HQ2: Mayors and civic leaders are prepared to offer tax breaks, development-ready sites, new aviation connections, and fiber optic lines to lure up to 50,000 highly-paid employees for the $5 billion campus. But they should be careful what they wish for: winning the Amazon beauty pageant might be the ultimate pyrrhic victory, especially if the winner offers too many subsidies. As The Brookings Institution argues, “State and local governments… have proven over and over that they are all too willing to give up their tax base for growth that would have occurred somewhere anyway.” (Reuters)