Seattle Scrambling for Amazon Headquarters

Amazon Headquarters

The online sales giant decided last month that it will open up a second site of operations — a project they’re calling “HQ2” — at a yet-undetermined location.

The Seattle-based company claims it will have 280,000 stateside employees by 2018. The company has already done wonders for Seattle’s economy, as the corporation owns 19% of office space in the city according to The Seattle Times. That’s more than the next 43 biggest Seattle-based companies combined.

Amazon has helped create thousands of jobs for the Seattle, and naturally every major town in North America wants to see the same massive economic growth.

But Seattle wants to throw its hat in the ring for the new headquarters too. Or at least it wants some of its neighboring cities to.


Amazon & Seattle – Rumored Tensions

Despite rumored tension between Amazon and its founding city, Seattle is looking to repair relations — although there are mixed reports as to whether there are truly bad relations in the first place.

According to a recent piece by The Seattle Times, relations between the city and the company are suffering, in part because of a divide in opinion on how Amazon is affecting Seattle. Many of the city’s politicians have taken action into their own hands:

A letter signed by a majority of Seattle City Council members, other elected officials and education leaders took an almost apologetic tone, saying to the extent Amazon’s decision “was based on Amazon feeling unwelcome in Seattle, or not being included in some of our regional decisions, we would like to hit the refresh button.”

Not every local politician agrees with Seattle’s strategy to lure Amazon to stick around.

Regardless, the State of Washington is making its own efforts to put in a bid for HQ2, which are due on October 19th. However, they don’t plan to operate the second headquarters Seattle. Instead, Seattle City Council members are hoping they can convince Amazon to put its second headquarters in one of the surrounding towns such as Tacoma or somewhere in Snohomish County — just north of Seattle.

While rumors have swirled that Amazon is building a second headquarters specifically because the company is unhappy in Seattle, Amazon has made no public statement admitting to such. Instead, Seattle just hopes it can maintain its position as the central location of all Amazon business.

It is no surprise that Seattle wants the state of Washington to have both. Just like every other city, Seattle wants job growth in the area. Amazon has promised to create 50,000 local jobs for whichever city HQ2 ends up in.

The bad news for Seattle and surrounding towns is that Amazon executive Jeff Wilke initially insinuated that Amazon would prefer to expand outside of the Pacific Northwest in a statement last week:

“Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest,” Wilke said. “It’s been terrific for me and my family, but I think we may find another location allows us to recruit a different collection of employees.”

That statement has since been clarified:

“We will give serious consideration to every HQ2 proposal we receive from across North America,” said Amazon spokesperson Adam Sedo, “including from communities across the Pacific Northwest.”

It’s unclear whether Sedo’s statement was simply a public relations move to save face or whether Amazon will actually give those towns a serious look. That alone is something to monitor going forward as it may indicate how the relations between the two truly stand.


Amazon’s Continues to Build its Brand

But with an opportunity to move and expand Amazon’s brand, would the company really put all of its eggs into one basket? With estimations that Amazon will have over 100 locations to choose from in North America alone (some people think Amazon should look to build overseas), chances are not good that Amazon will find a city in the Pacific Northwest to be the most ideal fit for its second headquarters.

Cities from Irvine, California to Newark, New Jersey and everywhere in between have already confirmed that they’ll submit bids. Some states have already announced as many as three or four different locations as potential hubs for Amazon, with many more expected to come. Each state is looking to put itself in the best possible position to lure the company.

Put in a Google search for “[insert state] HQ2” and you’re bound to find at least one or two cities that are looking to build Amazon’s headquarters there. In order to get ahead of the game, officials from some cities have gotten pretty creative. Tucson, Arizona sent a large cactus in an Amazon box to Jeff Bezos, which he had to reject. There have been some other creative ideas, too. Although some of them are more creative than others.

“We’re seeing all kinds of stunts,” says Ron Starner of Site Selection magazine, which is devoted to following news and trends from the world of locating factories, warehouses and headquarters.

            There are also plenty of videos of mayors asking Amazon’s voice recognition  personal assistant Alexa where the company should locate. Guess what the answer is? It’s always their city.

Every city is doing what it can to stand out. For many places, that’s just a matter of putting together comprehensive plans that aim to satisfy all of Amazon’s needs.

Many of these cities are all in to give Amazon the best possible location it can have. Everyone wants to be a part of the market, and someone is going to put forward a phenomenal offer. Whether or not relations between Seattle and Amazon are truly beyond repair probably won’t make a difference in the city’s chances of capturing both headquarter sites.

As the bidding submission deadline winds down over the next couple of days, it’s going to be interesting to see where Amazon chooses to wind up. Will the company remain in the Pacific Northwest, or maybe even go overseas? Or will Amazon instead choose to take up shop in one of the 100+ American and Canadian cities that want to give a boost to their economies with Amazon’s promised jobs? We’ll have to wait to find out.


Amazon Receives Over 200 Offers for HQ2

Amazon received even more bids for HQ2, its plan for a second main headquarters, than expected. Reports from Monday indicate that 238 bids were placed for the campus.

Initial guesses had the number at “100 plus,” so it’s a little bit of a surprise to see the number is more than double that. Bids came from all over North America, including offers from 43 of America’s 50 states and various territories in Canada, as well as a couple of select offers from Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Interestingly, no bids were made from countries overseas, which was rumored to be a possibility. Amazon will instead keep its central footprint national, as the second headquarters for the company will have to be stationed somewhere in North America.

Politicians from all over the country have been making the push for the building and the 50,000 new jobs that Amazon has promised will come along with it. Amazon will soon begin sifting through the various bids before an announcement on the official new location, which is expected to come in early 2018.

This article was researched and drafted by Anders Jorstad.  Anders is a content creator Amazon Sellers Lawyer. Anders will be earning his degree in journalism from Hofstra in the fall and has five years of professional journalism experience. He has written for numerous online and print publications including SB Nation and The Hofstra Chronicle. 

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