(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) on Thursday dangled the prospect of as many as 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in direct and indirect investment to communities vying to host its second North American headquarters.
The $5-billion project would be comparable to the giant internet retailer’s current Seattle headquarters, which spans 8.1 million square feet in 33 buildings and which generated $38 billion for that city’s economy from 2010 through 2016, the company said.
Amazon listed several key preferences for the new headquarters:
* Metropolitan area with a population of at least 1 million.
There are 53 metropolitan areas in the United States and six in Canada with populations that meet that criteria, according to government census data.
* Cities and states, as reported by Reuters, that have indicated they are in talks with or are interested in opening talks with Amazon about the new headquarters’ location:
- Seattle, its current headquarters location
- Chicago, Illinois
- Dallas, Texas
- Houston, Texas
- Denver, Colorado metropolitan area
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Toronto, Ontario
- State of Michigan
- State of Kentucky
- State of Indiana
- State of Minnesota
- State of Rhode Island
* A diverse population, “excellent” higher education institutions and a local government “willing to work with the company.”
- General Electric cited access to a large and diverse educated workforce for its decision in January 2016 to move its headquarters to Boston. Good Jobs First said the value of subsidies Massachusetts offered to GE to relocate to Boston amounted to $145 million.
* A stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure, along with the potential to attract and retain “strong” technical workers.
- According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, the 2017 State Business Tax Climate index ranks these ten states as the best for how well they structure their tax systems:
2) South Dakota
7) New Hampshire
The 10 worst in 2017:
44) Rhode Island
49) New York
50) New Jersey
* Amazon said the site can be urban or suburban as long as it is within 30 miles from a population centre and within 45 minutes of an international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. It must also be no more than 2 miles from a major highway with direct access to mass transit systems. Existing buildings of at least 500,000 square feet and greenfield sites of about 100 acres will be considered.
* The availability of incentives including site preparation, tax credits and exemptions, relocation and workforce grants, and fee reductions. “The initial cost and ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers,” according to Amazon.
- Amazon’s sprawling operations in the United States are generally staffed with non-union workers. Unions, according to news reports over the years, have not made much progress in unionising the company’s workers. In considering is headquarter location, states with “right to work” provisions in their laws could be a factor in the decision making process.
- According to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, states with right to work provisions in their laws are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
* Optimal fibre connectivity and service.
Reporting by Reuters Staff; Editing by Daniel Bases and Nick Zieminski