Amazon Opens Search for Second Headquarters City in North America -- Update

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

Amazon.com Inc. is in the market for a second home.

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The Seattle-based online retailer said Thursday it plans to open a second headquarters somewhere in North America that will house up to 50,000 employees and cost $5 billion to build and operate.

The company is soliciting bids for the project, dubbed Amazon's "HQ2," and said it would prioritize metropolitan areas with more than one million people that are within 45 minutes of an international airport.

The company also said incentives offered by state and local governments will be "significant factors" in the decision.

"We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters," Amazon's Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in prepared remarks. "Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in upfront and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We're excited to find a second home."

Amazon's announcement is likely to set off a frenzy among state and local governments eager to recruit the retail juggernaut to their areas by offering the right mix of tax incentives and allowances.

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Amazon has received more than $1 billion in incentives since 2000 from state and local governments to help the company build its warehouses, according to Good Jobs First, a group that is critical of corporate tax credits.

The first bids are due Oct. 19 and the company said it expects to choose a site sometime next year. Amazon expects the new jobs, many of which will be in software development, to have average salaries of more than $100,000.

The company said its existing Seattle headquarters, which opened in 2010, has brought an additional $38 billion in investments to the local economy.

Amazon, which has long favored growth and investments over profit, has been growing rapidly as it expands dozens of programs, including its instant-delivery service Prime Now and Amazon Fresh. The company completed its acquisition of Whole Foods last week and began overhauling the grocery chain by lowering some prices and integrating Amazon services.

The company has already announced plans to create 130,000 U.S. jobs through mid-2018 and expand its network of warehouses.

Once the second headquarters is built, existing senior leaders will get to choose whether they locate their teams in the Seattle headquarters, HQ2 or both, the company said.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 07, 2017 07:13 ET (11:13 GMT)