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Amazon announces plans for new HQ in North America

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Cities eyeing potential $5 billion development, which would house as many as 50,000 employees

A man looks at Amazon's three giant glass biosphere Domes under construction in the Denny Triangle area of Downtown Seattle.

Amazon, the online commerce titan that has reshaped modern retail, may soon help reshape a major North American city. As reported by the New York Times, the company is looking for a location for a second headquarters, a new facility meant to house as many as 50,000 workers expected to cost upwards of $5 billion.

The company announced its plans Thursday morning, and will be accepting proposals for HQ2 from state and local leaders through October 19. The company seeks a location within a North American city and metro area of more than one million people that can attract and retain tech talent. This would put a little more than 50 U.S. urban areas in the running based on 2016 population estimates, though by opening it up to North American sites, other countries, especially Canada (with its burgeoning tech scene) are also in the running.

The potential of having such a massive corporation, and the resulting slew of high-paying jobs, is expected to set off a bidding war of sorts between cities, who may jockey to present the most favorable locations, tax breaks, and incentives.

According to the Times, the new development would be the “full equal” of the Seattle headquarters, which itself houses 40,000 people across 8.1 million square feet in 33 buildings. According to Amazon statistics, the company’s overall investments in Seattle between 2010 and 2016 drove an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy, with every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generating an additional $1.40 for the city’s economy overall.

Based on size and employment projections, this new facility might be the next gargantuan tech campus, reminiscent of Apple’s new spaceship-like campus in Cupertino, California.

The company’s announcement comes on the heels of the company’s gargantuan acquisition of Whole Foods, its increasing impact on cities and local retail, and fast-paced hiring spree. The company employs more than 382,000 people around the globe, and this January said it would create 100,000 more jobs in the U.S. alone over the next 18 months.