Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now Prince Charming to tech-savvy cities who are all eager to prove that they’re the perfect fit for his glass slipper.
Early Thursday morning, Amazon announced plans to build a new large-scale headquarters somewhere in North America.
Via press release, the online shopping juggernaut promised “Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.”
In its request for proposals from cities, the company laid out a few basic parameters for its ideal suitor that might suit us locally:
- Metropolitan areas with more than one million people.
- Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent. [...]
- Existing buildings of at least 500,000+ sq. ft., meeting the core requirements described above and that are expandable or have additional options for development nearby.
- [...Or] other infill, existing buildings, including opportunities for renovation/redevelopment and greenfield sites, meeting the proximity and logistics requirements of the project.
Within six hours, the Washington Post identified 39 potential candidates, including San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.
Amazon already has offices in San Francisco, of course—in fact, the company leased 180,000 square feet at 525 Market just over a month ago.
But that’s not the same as a high-profile new centerpiece headquarters. Amazon is a bit of an outlier among tech giants in that its thumbprint in the Bay Area remains somewhat slender. Building nearby would to a degree feel like coming home for the world’s most successful Internet commerce site.
San Jose already announced it’s putting in a bid, and San Francisco and Oakland mayors Ed Lee and Libby Schaff say they may both throw their hats into the ring as well.
The question is, do locals want Bay Area cities to court Amazon? As a former Amazon executive warned the San Francisco Chronicle, “Every city [...] should be careful what they ask for. If Amazon shows up with that many people, what is that going to do to the cost of real estate?”
Does San Francisco want yet another huge jobs project in the city? Do we need it? Should we demand housing concessions with it? Should we back another Bay Area city’s bid, or try to discourage it for fear that Amazon employees might come shopping for San Francisco homes in an already crowded market?
The company’s deadline for city applications is October 18. Tell us in the comments what, if anything, Bay Area cities should be doing as that date looms?