Chicago to bid for Amazon's second headquarters

Ann Santiago
September 11, 2017

Amazon has opened the search for a second headquarters, promising to spend more than $5 billion on the site. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel publicly stated that he has spoken to Bezos about the new headquarters, but would not say if the windy city would submit a proposal.

According to Market Watch, San Francisco, Raleigh, Boston, Austin, D.C., Atlanta, New York and several others could make the list of potential cities that could ask to host Amazon. In its announcement, the group states that the construction, in 2010, the headquarters of Seattle has allowed the region to recover approximately $ 38 billion of other investments. Is Seattle continuing to hold Amazon's growth an option?

Expanding geographic footprint. Amazon already has a dominant presence in the western region of the country with its existing headquarters in Seattle. The deadline Amazon set for responses is just six weeks away: not enough time to build the highly educated labor pool and strong university system Amazon requires. "They're looking for eight million square feet, that's the whole Seaport".

Upon hearing the news, leaders of more than 20 cities in the US and Canada immediately announced plans to bid on the headquarters, including New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as smaller cities like Greensboro, NC and San Antonio, Texas, according to news reports.

Amazon has been awarded 70 state and local subsidies, totaling at least $732.79 million in value since 2000, according to nonprofit Good Jobs First, which advocates for transparency on government subsidies.

Tory will have a challenger in Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who said the West Coast metropolis is a top contender for Amazon's next headquarters.

"It would be absurd for Seattle to simply give up and accept the premise that one of the country's most forward-thinking and dynamic cities is fated to play second-fiddle to Fort Worth in population growth and force its most successful company to seek its fortunes elsewhere", Yglesias wrote.

"Michigan's wealth of talent and a vastly improved business climate have perfectly positioned our state to become home to Amazon's next North American headquaters".


"We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit", Amazon said. "That's also why Chicago has led the nation in corporate relocations for the last four years".

"Places that tend to have a large, technically skilled workforce are generally already expensive and densely built", said Jed Kolko, chief economist for jobs site Indeed.

The U.S. Census estimated Fresno's population at 522,053 as of July 1 of past year, but it's not clear if populations of Clovis and other, nearby communities might be considered in Amazon's consideration process.

Similar high jinks are nearly guaranteed in the pursuit of Amazon.

Amazon's shares were up 1 percent at $978 on Thursday. "City staff are working with Toronto Global to make sure we put together an attractive bid for this opportunity".

"This move will not be cost driven".

But as a close read of Amazon's RFP reveals, no matter how much your city, state, or province offers in tax credits, grants, permitting and fee relief, and other incentives, it won't matter if you don't have the talent.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle.

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