Amazon Sparks City Bidding War For New North American HQ

Amazon has invited cities in the US and Canada to express an interest in hosting its new headquarters, in an Olympic-style bidding process.

The company says its second North American base, known as HQ2, will be an equal to its existing campus in Seattle (HQ1).

Tales in Tech History: Amazon – From online retailer to tech juggernaut

Amazon HQ2

It plans to invest $5 billion in construction and operation, including the creation of 50,000 new jobs. It also expects HQ2 to stimulate the local economy to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

Staff will have the option to move from HQ1 to HQ2 while team leaders may choose to base their teams in either location.

“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. “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 is opening a ‘Request for Proposal’ so local and state government officials can investigate the possibility of making a bid. The document hints it would welcome tax incentives, favourable land agreements and relocation subsidies.

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The preference is for a metropolitan area with a population in excess of 1 million, a stablebusiness environment, a desirable location that can attract and retain talent and a community open to creative real estate options. The location doesn’t necessarily have to be downtown or a similar layout to the Seattle campus.

A number of cities have been mentioned, including Boston, New York and Detroit, but Toronto has put its hat firmly in the ring.

“I firmly believe that Toronto is a prime candidate to host [Amazon’s] second headquarters in North America,” said Mayor John Tory.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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