Amazon launches search for second North American HQ

Amazon has opened a hunt for a second home, pledging to spend more than $5bn to build another headquarters in North America.

The e-commerce giant said the second HQ will house as many as 50,000 employees.

It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be "a full equal" of its current home, said founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.

Amazon's announcement highlights how fast the company is expanding and will create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the shortlist.

They have a little more than a month to apply through a special website, and the company said it will make a final decision next year.

It did not hint about where it might land, but its requirements could rule out some places.

It wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and to be able to expand that headquarters to as much as eight million square feet in the next decade - about the same size as its current home in Seattle.

Amazon said its search is open to any metropolitan area in North America that meets the parameters but declined to say how open it was to going outside the US.

"We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees and the community can all benefit," the company said in a statement on its search website about why it was choosing its second HQ through a public process.

Mr Bezos has crowdsourced major decisions before - in June, just before Amazon announced its plan to buy organic grocer Whole Foods, the billionaire took to Twitter seeking ideas for a philanthropic strategy to give away some of his fortune.

In the last month, Amazon announced plans to build three new warehouses that pack and ship packages in New York, Ohio and Oregon, and it recently paid close to $14bn for Whole Foods and its more than 465 stores.

The company plans to hire 100,000 people by the middle of next year, adding to its current worldwide staff of more than 380,000.

Amazon's current campus in Seattle takes up 8.1 million square feet, has 33 buildings and 24 restaurants and is home to more than 40,000 employees.

At the second headquarters, Amazon said it will hire up to 50,000 new full-time employees over the next 15 years who would have an average pay of more than $100,000 a year.

Amazon's website about the search lauds the benefits it can bring to a community. Until 10 years ago, the neighbourhood near Seattle's campus was dotted with car part stores and low-rent apartments. Now the area is a booming pocket of high-rise office complexes, sleek apartment buildings and restaurants.

AP


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