Tacoma scrambles to make bid for 2nd Amazon headquarters

Seattle-based Amazon announced last week it was looking to build a second headquarters. Landing the tech giant would be a game changer in Tacoma, where housing prices have barely bounced back from before the recession.

Tacoma boosters say Amazon should look no farther than the City of Destiny for its second headquarters.

Landing the tech giant would be a game-changer locally, where housing prices have barely bounced back from before the recession.

Amazon would bring a $5 billion campus with up to 50,000 employees and 8 million square feet of office space. High-paying jobs would significantly boost the city’s household income.

The company hopes to open its first office in 2019 — at half-a-million square feet or more — with the rest coming online in the next decade.

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“This is a very unusual and exciting opportunity,” said Bruce Kendall, CEO of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County.

Kendall called Amazon’s search for a second but equal headquarters “gargantuan.”

“That’s unprecedented at least in North America from what I’ve seen in the past,” he said.

The online retailer’s asks include a business-friendly environment, the ability to attract and retain talent and a shovel-ready site.

Other requirements:

• Be near a major international airport. Tacoma is 25 miles from Sea-Tac Airport.

• Less than two miles from major highways? Interstate 5 goes through the city.

• Access to mass transit. The Tacoma Link light rail runs through the heart of downtown, from the Tacoma Dome and soon through the Stadium District and Hilltop neighborhoods.

“There is nothing they are asking for that we can’t deliver — and we can over deliver on what they are looking for, so yeah, we’re going to be in the game,” Kendall said. “We could meet all of their core preferences, and very well on more than one site.”

Empty parcels are scattered throughout Tacoma’s downtown. Now serving as parking lots, they could become sites for 400-foot-high office towers.

The company is also asking for incentives that states can offer it for a chance at the headquarters, dubbed HQ2.

“Places like Texas and Pennsylvania will throw everything but the kitchen sink at them,” said Ricardo Noguera, community and economic development director for the city of Tacoma. “But they know they have a successful track…

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