Amazon hunting for 2nd HQ in US

SEATTLE • Amazon.com Inc is searching for a site for a major corporate office in the US, a development expected to house as many as 50,000 people and to be equal in size to its current Seattle headquarters.

The cost of what Amazon is billing as its “second company headquarters (HQ2) in North America” is expected to top US$5 billion (RM21.05 billion) over the next 15 to 17 years, the company said.

Amazon is now asking local and state governments to pitch for its business, with the promise of boosting the local economy.

Any new development by Amazon would have a major impact on the surrounding community. The company is one of the biggest employers in Seattle, on course to have 10 million sq ft (929,000 sq m) of office space, more than 15% of the city’s inventory.

“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in upfront and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.”

The e-commerce giant recently moved into a new 500-ft-tall office tower in Seattle, complete with 100-ft-tall orbs — Amazon calls them Biospheres — which will host more than 300 plant species from around the world when they open in 2018.

Cities and local governments will be clamouring to offer lucrative incentives in order to entice Amazon to pitch its new tent. In 2001 Boeing decided to move its headquarters out of Seattle for Chicago, after it was promised a series of tax breaks and incentives worth up to US$60 million — for just 500 employees.

Amazon’s Seattle office houses over 40,000, and many of the jobs for Amazon’s second home will be new hires, according to yesterday’s statement. Incentives the company is looking for include tax credits or exemptions, relocation grants and fee reductions.

Amazon will let staff in its existing Seattle headquarters move to the new development, according the statement. — Bloomberg