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Pundits find various messages in Amazon's headquarters announcement

Pundits find various messages in Amazon's headquarters announcement”

"With as many as 50,000 new jobs possible for Minnesota workers and families, I have directed Commissioner Shawntera Hardy and the Department of Employment and Economic Development to work with city, regional, and state partners on a proposal to bring Amazon's new headquarters to Minnesota", Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement Thursday.

According to a report in The New York Times, Amazon execs have privately been expressing concerns that the company's giant footprint in Seattle is beginning to generate some negative consequences, including skyrocketing housing prices, an intense competition for highly skilled workers and the daily traffic jams that are the norm in larger metro areas.

Amazon lists one requirement in the stunning request for proposals it issued Thursday, which invites cities across North America to compete to host a second corporate headquarters for the tech and commerce giant.

It notes that Amazon's presence in Seattle generated from 2010 through 2016 an additional $38 billion for the city's economy, and "every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.4 for the city's economy, overall". But Amazon sees the limits to its growth here. Others in the top 10 are Washington, Toronto, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle, Amazon's current home. While outlets like Crain's think that the Amazon HQ opening isn't going to happen, others are staying slightly more optimistic at the idea of a bunch of Seattle nerds opening shop in Detroit.

"At full build-out, the campus or park may exceed 8 million square feet and over $5 billion in total capital investment", it told potential bidders.

Pittsburgh: "With an unmatched portfolio of technological talent and intriguing development parcels, Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to submit a winning bid for Amazon's facility", Mayor William Peduto said in a statement to CNN.

The hunt for where Amazon will build its second North American Headquarters is on but some industry leaders doubt Arizona's chances to secure the project.

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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.

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. The idea of packing that many employees of a single company into the greater Seattle area, or really any large USA metro area, strains credulity.

And, lest we forget, are your city fathers prepared to fork over a king's ransom in financial incentives and other inducements? "In fact, next year, we'll add three new direct flights".

Depending on how Amazon, which recently bought Whole Foods Market, makes its choice, the company could quickly eliminate many possible candidates.

The U.S. Census estimated Fresno's population at 522,053 as of July 1 of past year, but it's not clear if populations of Clovis and other, nearby communities might be considered in Amazon's consideration process.

But does Arizona realistically have a shot at securing Amazon's HQ2? It's not so much the jobs as becoming a focal point for growth.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle.



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