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Amazon opens bids for new HQ

Amazon has said it wants to build a massive second headquarters in North America, sparking immediate competition from rival cities to attract what could be billions of dollars in investment.

The company is willing to look beyond the US for its new location, explicitly opening up to Canadian cities.

It said it plans to spend US$5bn on the project over 15-17 years.

The proposed second headquarters “will be a full equal” to its current headquarters in Seattle, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said.


“Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in upfront and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home,” Bezos added.

In Seattle, the company has over eight million sq ft of office space and accounts for nearly 20% of the city’s total office space. 

In line with being equal to the Seattle base, Amazon’s new headquarters would ultimately employ 50,000 people in eight million sq ft of office space at an average salary of over US$100,000.

The scale of the projects and the interest it has sparked is comparable to cities bidding for the Olympics. 

Amazon's Request for Proposal narrows the list significantly in terms of the number of cities realistically able to bid for such a project.

The company wants a metropolitan area of more than a million people with an international airport, good education and mass transit.

However, in order to realistically provide 50,000 employees a metropolitan area is going to need to be significantly larger than that.

Experts say Amazon’s public request for submissions is a way to find the sweetest deal in terms of local incentives and tax exemptions.

Officials from Toronto, Texas, Maryland and Chicago were among those who said they planned to try to win Amazon's new venture.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made a case for his city in discussions with Bezos, a Chicago spokesman said.

Whichever city eventually wins the bid, there will certainly be plenty of opportunities for construction firms.

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