Cities are falling over themselves to be the site of Amazon’s next corporate headquarters

Who needs two-day shipping when you have HQ2?
Who needs two-day shipping when you have HQ2?
Image: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
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Amazon’s announcement that it will build a second North American headquarters has sparked a frenzy of activities among cities and states, which are vying to put forward the best bid for Amazon’s business.

They’re all hoping to become the next Seattle, home to Amazon’s only North American headquarters at the moment. The company’s massive presence there has lifted wages and lowered unemployment (though it has also brought gridlocked roads and pricey housing).

Amazon has said it will hire up to 50,000 highly paid employees and pour more than $5 billion in capital expenditures into its new headquarters, which could ultimately span 8 million square feet. One analyst dubbed it the “Cadillac of corporate headquarters.”

Here’s who’s put their hat in the ring so far:

Arlington, Virginia: Arlington county plans to submit a proposal but has yet to identify specific sites for Amazon’s second headquarters, a spokeswoman for Arlington Economic Development told a local news outlet.

Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement that the city will pursue Amazon’s second headquarters. “Baltimore’s strategic location in the Mid-Atlantic and its accessibility via highway, rail, port and air, make us a great fit for Amazon’s second headquarters,” William Cole, president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation, said. “Also, we’ve worked with Amazon in the past when they opened their distribution center and they know that we can be a good partner.”

Chicago, Illinois: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has “spoken with [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos several times about picking Chicago,” a city spokesman told the Chicago Tribune. Emanuel spokesman Grant Klinzman confirmed to Quartz that the city plans to make a bid. “Chicago’s unmatched workforce, world-class universities and unparalleled access to destinations throughout the world make it the perfect headquarters location for companies large and small,” Klinzman said in an email.

Dallas, Texas: ”We’ve already contacted Amazon to express our interest and have proceeded to their prescribed next step,” Dallas mayor Michael Rawlings said in a statement. “We will aggressively demonstrate that Dallas and our surrounding area would be the perfect spot for their expansive business needs. Amazon already has an extensive amount of business here. They’ve been good corporate citizens and we look forward to future conversations.”

Denver, Colorado: “This is a mega prospect and we have already initiated conversations with our economic development partners at the State and regional level to thoroughly consider the best possible fit for Denver and the region,” Denver mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “This is at the early-stage for this attraction project—we’re just getting started, as Amazon just made their announcement.”

Indianapolis, Indiana: “Indianapolis continues to receive national attention as a rising tech hub, helping to drive innovation and growth for local and global businesses,” Taylor Schaffer, a city spokesperson, said in an email. “That’s why we are very excited to engage with state leadership and Amazon to encourage the growth of their already successful presence in our city.”

Kansas City, Missouri: “Good news, #KC!” the official city account tweeted. “We will bid strong for @Amazon #HQ2.” Mayor Sly James also tweeted his enthusiasm.

Minnesota: Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement that he has directed the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development to work with city and regional partners on a proposal to bring Amazon’s new corporate headquarters to Minnesota.

Nashville, Tennessee: “I’m confident that our socially progressive, pro-business climate, talented workforce, and overall great quality of life offer the type of environment that they are looking for in the city they’ll choose,” mayor Megan Barry said in a statement. The city’s economic and community development team is working with the local chamber of commerce to identify potential sites in the area.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The city plans to submit a proposal, Lauren Cox, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia department of commerce, said in an email. “Obviously, this is going to be a very competitive process,” she said. “Given their preference for a city with over 1,000,000 people, Philadelphia would provide them with a perfectly located East Coast hub where they have access to a rapidly growing millennial talent pool. We’re also much more affordable than other nearby east coast cities with similar population sizes.”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: ”With an unmatched portfolio of technological talent and intriguing development parcels, Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to submit a winning bid for Amazon’s facility,” Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement on Sept. 7. “This is a transformational opportunity unlike any that we’ve ever seen.” Pittsburgh is also home to Uber’s research center on driverless car technology.

San Antonio, Texas: “San Antonio is primed for an initiative of this size, and while competition for the site will be aggressive, we are confident in the assets our community has to offer,” Erica Hurtak, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, told a local news outlet.

St. Louis, Missouri: Local officials are assembling a team to work on St. Louis’s bid. “For Amazon, St. Louis is the perfect place for them to locate because of our central location, the river, the rails, that all come through here,” Sheila Sweeney, CEO of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, told the local news.

Toronto, Ontario: “I firmly believe that Toronto is a prime candidate to host @amazon’s second headquarters in North America,” Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted. He said he will be “leading the charge” to make Toronto’s case to the company.

We’ll continue to update this post as more places step forward.