Amazon.com announced plans on Thursday to open a second headquarters somewhere in North America that will house up to 50,000 employees and cost $5 billion to build and operate. The company is soliciting bids from local and state government leaders for the project, dubbed Amazon’s “HQ2,” and said it would prioritize metropolitan areas with more than one million people.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” Amazon’s CEO 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.”
The company also announced that its investment in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 has brought an additional $38 billion in investments to the local economy. It hopes to generate the same level of return in the new site: “In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in construction and related industries, and generate tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the city where Amazon HQ2 is located.”
Existing senior leaders will get to choose whether they locate their teams in the Seattle headquarters, HQ2 or both, the company said. Amazon is currently in an aggressive stage of expansion, buying up competitor companies and bricks and mortar stores as it looks to challenge the likes of Walmart in food retailing. According to the FT, the ecommerce giant has made about 130 acquisitions or investments since its debut in 1995.
The company’s Seattle headquarters is spread across 8.1 million square feet in 33 buildings and employs more than 40,000 people.