Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. Source: Amazon.com
Written by David Castellon
The city of Fresno plans to throw its hat in the ring to become the home of Amazon’s second headquarters.
“We’re going to look at all the requirements and look at it,” said Mark Standriff, a spokesman for the city.
But, he noted, there wasn’t much to say yet in terms of how Fresno will make its case that “Amazon HQ2” should be built here, noting that the company’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, had announced online the request for proposals to cities across the country on Thursday.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” a complex of 33 buildings with a combined 8.1 million square feet of space and 40,00-plus employees, Bezos’ announcement posted online states.
The statement clearly seems intended to make it clear to cities that his company is a huge economic fish to catch, noting “Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.
“In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community,” states the release.
It notes that Amazon’s presence in Seattle generated from 2010 through 2016 an additional $38 billion for the city’s economy, and “every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.4 for the city’s economy, overall.”
It even lists the number of non-Amazon jobs generated by the online giant’s presence in Seattle, 53,000, and the number of hotel stays there last year by Amazon employees and guests, about 233,000.
“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,” Bezos said in his statement.
With such a potent economic boon at stake, no doubt several U.S. cities will submit RFPs vying to capture Amazon executives’ interest.
Fresno managed to successfully convince Amazon that the city was the right place for an 855,000 square-foot fulfillment center where online orders are sent out, and construction began on that facility earlier this summer.
Whether that will give Fresno a leg up on other cities isn’t clear.
“We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit,” states the Web page Amazon set up for cities to submit their RFPs.
And Standriff noted that Fresno and the other cities interested in being home to HQ2 will not just have to sell Amazon officials on their benefits, as Bezos also issued a “preference” list of what the interested cities should have:
– 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.
– Metropolitan areas with more than one million people.
The U.S. Census estimated Fresno’s population at 522,053 as of July 1 of last year, but it’s not clear if populations of Clovis and other, nearby communities might be considered in Amazon’s consideration process.
Also not immediately clear is whether not meeting one or more of the preference items could knock Fresno and other cities out of consideration.
In addition, Bezos’ announcement states that HQ2 could be — but doesn’t have to be — an urban or downtown campus with a similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus.
“We are looking for a location with strong local and regional talent — particularly in software development and related fields,” the website states.
And Amazon officials also prefer that any suggested locales be “development-prepped” sites, according to the announcement.
“We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline,” Bezos’ announcement states.