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Massive response to Amazon’s search for new headquarters

Amazon said it will likely invest more than $5 billion into the project, creating an estimated 50,000 high-paying jobs.

world Updated: Oct 24, 2017 23:39 IST
Yashwant Raj
File photo of the Amazon logo.
File photo of the Amazon logo.(AFP)

Amazon has received 238 proposals from cities, counties and regions from across North America for its second headquarters, the online retail giant said on Monday.

Amazon said it will likely invest more than $5 billion into the project, creating an estimated 50,000 high-paying jobs, and “tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars” in spin-off businesses around the area.

In short, it envisages another version of its Seattle headquarters, which comprises 33 buildings and more than 40,000 employees, with an additional 53,000 jobs created as a result of direct investments by the company.

But Amazon is going to be picky: it prefers metropolitan areas with a population of more than 1 million — whether urban or semi-urban — with a rich pool of talent either available locally or have the potential to attract them. It also prefers communities that are business friendly and can be creative with real estate options.

The company in September had set October 10 as the deadline to respond to with a proposal. It is expected to announce its pick in 2018.

Sun Corridor Inc, a southern Arizona company, sent a 21-foot Saguaro cactus to Seattle just a week after the Amazon announced its amazonhq2 RFP in September. “We wanted to make sure (Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos and his team notice us and send a message of ‘we have room for you to grow here for the long term’ — nothing signifies that better than a Saguaro,” Sun Corridor’s president and CEO Joe Snell told AP. The Saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States, capable of growing up to 60 feet tall.

Amazon sent the cactus to Arizona’s desert museum with a little thank you note posted on Twitter “Unfortunately we can’t accept gifts (even really cool ones) so we donated it to …”

The New York Times had a few more of such creative pitches in a report last week. Mayors posted videos of their pitch on social media, hoping to catch the eye of someone screening them.

In Philadelphia’s elite Wharton Business School, students were tasked to figure out a pitch to Amazon, Time reported.

The mayor of Ottawa in neighbouring Canada is taking his chances as well. Jim Watson flew to Seattle last week to see for himself what his city was up against. “It’s like ‘The Amazing Race,” he told the New York Times. “You’ve got this cast of characters running toward the Holy Grail.”