Soon, another US city will benefit from Amazon much of the same way Seattle now does, because CEO Jeff Bezos's e-commerce juggernaut is looking for a second headquarters, and it's doing so via a public process. Why?
Now, the Lehigh Valley is hoping for a white-collar Amazon workforce.
In documentation of its request for cities to bid for the project, Amazon said: "We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit".
"C$3 onstruction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community". It clearly has "metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people" and "urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent", as proven by the state's 17 Fortune 500 companies already making Minnesota home.
Amazon's announcement has prompted some soul-searching about whether Seattle is anti-business.
The technical specs for HQ2 include a city that is 45 minutes or less from a large worldwide airport; has access to mass transit; and is near a "population center".
"An urban or downtown campus".
"A development-prepped site. We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline".
New Jersey reportedly plans to enter the sweepstakes to become the location for Amazon.com's massive "HQ2" facility.
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"The initial cost and ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers", the company said in its request for proposals, which are due October 19.
To qualify for incentives, businesses must create at least 250 new jobs and pay salaries that are 125 percent or more of the prosperity region average wage, which is about $28.40 an hour or $59,076 per year for Metro Detroit.
"This is a company that is scientific about getting tax breaks", said Greg LeRoy, the group's executive director.
"With 3,700 tech companies and some of the biggest names in tech already in our backyard, we have the ideal infrastructure for a distribution center, he said".
But some say opening a sprawling new headquarters could help the tech giant win over local lawmakers.
He added that the Washington area, where Bezos recently bought a $23 million house, could be a likely contender.
But the Seattle company is looking far beyond Silicon Valley, where it already has a handful of outposts, and soliciting bids from across North America. HQ2 is shaping up to be the biggest economic development competition we've ever seen.
Amazon, which employs 380,000 people, is expanding rapidly. It announced plans to build three new warehouses that pack and ship packages in New York, Ohio and Oregon. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Arizona ranked 48th in the country for its K-12 education system, which is what Gammage points to as a major factor often considered by site selectors and corporate decision makers.
Earlier this year the city announced a pilot partnership with Starship Technologies, an autonomous personal delivery device technology company, and is host to GoMentum station, the nation's largest closed autonomous vehicles test track.