Amazon is looking for its home away from home and urging cities to come up with their best sales pitch to make them move in.
The Seattle-based company said Thursday it is looking for locations for something the e-commerce giant is calling HQ2 — a second headquarters, in effect. The company says it will invest $5 billion US to develop the site and eventually house as many as 50,000 workers in more than eight million square feet of space within a decade.
The site will be a “full equal” to the company’s current Seattle headquarters, where it has been based since 2010. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs,” founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said.
“We’re excited to find a second home.”
Amazon says it has added $38 billion US to Seattle’s economy since setting up shop there in 2016, but is looking for a second headquarters as it expands from its current 380,000 workers.
The plan is to grow the site’s workforce to 50,000 eventually, with average salaries in excess of $100,000 US, Amazon says.
The company says it is looking for either “urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent” and must be near metropolitan areas of at least one million people. Amazon says it expects to pick the location by next year.
Interested cities are encouraged to submit their pitches via a dedicated website until Oct. 19, and several Canadian cities are already making it known that they are interested, including Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax.
“I firmly believe that Toronto is a prime candidate to host Amazon’s second headquarters in North America,” Mayor John Tory told CBC News in a statement, citing the “bold, innovative” city’s technology talent.
We are a bold, innovative city that has plenty of homegrown tech talent. We continue to attract talent & companies from around the world.
“City staff are working with Toronto Global to make sure we put together an attractive bid for this opportunity,” Tory said. “I will be leading the charge to make the case that Amazon should call Toronto home.”
Toby Lennox, the chief executive of Global Toronto, said Canadian cities like Toronto should be at the top of Amazon’s list.
“Toronto has everything they’re looking for,” he said in an interview.