Business

Dan Gilbert, Snyder make case to bring Amazon headquarters to Detroit

Dan Gilbert, Snyder make case to bring Amazon headquarters to Detroit”

The statement clearly seems meant 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". Amazon will spend about $5-billion on its new headquarters, and will employ about 50,000 people.

Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle, the location of Amazon HQ1 from 2010 through 2016, resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy. But Amazon sees the limits to its growth here.

The company released a request for proposal Thursday, which outlines a plan for a second headquarters, called HQ2, in addition to its campus in Seattle, due to "the successful growth of the company".

It turns out that many North American mayors would love to have problems like that. 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.

"This is going to be a feeding frenzy of epic proportions", said Aaron Renn, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a think tank focused on urban affairs. "They're looking for eight million square feet, that's the whole Seaport".

"I look forward to engaging with partners throughout the region to compete for the 50,000 jobs Amazon will create with its new headquarters", said Coleman, a Democrat running for governor.

The reality is that Amazon is pursuing a second headquarters for pragmatic business reasons-principally to improve its access to talent-not to spurn the polis of its first or squeeze it for incentives.

Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council, said that several former military bases in Northern California - such as the Concord Naval Weapons Station, which has a nearby BART station - could work as an Amazon headquarters.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is lining up beside other Canadian suitors hoping to woo Amazon after the USA online retail giant announced it's on the hunt for a location for its second North American headquarters.

According to the RFP, Amazon is looking to locate its HQ2 in an urban or suburban location with a population of at least one million, and be close to communities where it can attract talent.

Earlier this year the city announced a pilot partnership with Starship Technologies, an autonomous personal delivery device technology company, and is host to GoMentum station, the nation's largest closed autonomous vehicles test track. "Adding a second headquarters here is definitely a move we welcome". Wisconsin's legislature, for instance, recently voted to give Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn a US$3 billion incentive package to build a US$10 billion liquid crystal display factory in the state.

Amazon, with a market cap of $468.7 billion and $13.2 billion in cash on hand as of the last quarter, is rightly coming under criticism for spurring a bidding war among local governments to win the HQ2 prize.

And if that seems too cautious, consider how Seattle has come to feel about hosting the original Amazon HQ. This has become expected behavior from corporations that bring with them the best jobs in the economy. "City staff are working with Toronto Global to make sure we put together an attractive bid for this opportunity".

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle.



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