Irvine’s bid to land Amazon HQ could unite Orange County – Orange County Register

Often considered a cluster of distinct cities with no central hub, Orange County may have found a rare common goal to unite around: Bringing Amazon’s second headquarters to Irvine.

The Orange County Business Council, a regional voice for business, is asking all 34 cities in the county to write letters of recommendation to support Irvine’s bid to land Amazon’s second home, which the tech giant plans to invest $5 billion on and house as many as 50,000 employees with an average pay of more than $100,000 a year.

“Securing a game-changing company like Amazon in Orange County would benefit every city,” said Lucy Dunn, Orange County Business Council president and CEO.

Amazon’s presence in Irvine would bring national exposure to the whole county, which often is labeled as a bedroom community of Los Angeles though more workers commute from Los Angeles to Orange County than the other way around, she said.

“We already have global companies here, but this just adds a whole other dimension,” Dunn said.

Also, high-paying jobs Amazon would bring to the area mean more opportunities for young professionals to live and work here, she said.

“That for me is incredibly important to the future of the Orange County economy,” Dunn said.

Irvine city officials have shown interest in submitting a proposal to Amazon since Sept. 7, the day the company announced it will choose another base of operations in North America through a public process. Its headquarters is in Seattle.

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the City Council, in a unanimous vote, authorized staff to do so by working with landowners such as the Irvine Co. and FivePoint. The city doesn’t own property large enough to accommodate an 8 million-square-foot headquarters.

Fortunately for Irvine, Irvine Co. chairman Donald Bren and FivePoint CEO Emile Haddad, two of California’s real estate moguls, have quickly announced their support for the city’s bid.

Irvine spokesman Craig Reem said city staff will work with the landowners to come up with potential sites.

The city must submit its proposal to Amazon by Oct. 19.

Working together as a region will help Irvine’s chance of winning the fierce competition, Dunn says, because “every city in Orange County has unique assets they could highlight” such as beaches, universities, entertainment and public transportation. Irvine is expected to face competition from major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

Dunn said it’s too early to gauge the level of…

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