Amazon, trade the rain for the wind: Chicago wants second headquarters

Getty Images | Alex Wong

Getty Images | Alex Wong

On the other end of the political spectrum-which is really just farther to the left here in Seattle-the move is read as a classic corporate power play, meant to cow the city and extract concessions to pave the way for further growth.

Toronto: "I firmly believe that Toronto is a prime candidate to host Amazon's second headquarters in North America", Mayor John Tory told the CBC.

"Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs".

The potential site itself would have to have room to grow, Amazon said, as it wants to expand its new headquarters to as much as eight million square feet in the next decade. Here's a memorable example: even after Apple chose an Arizona site for its first US manufacturing facility a few years ago, the company steadfastly refused to divulge any information about what it planned to make in the new plant (which turned out to be display screens for smartphones). The company plans to make a decision next year.

But Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has never been one to shy away from unveiling his ultra-ambitious plans on a global stage.

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Leaders from cities across the US are vying for a chance to reap in the lucrative bid, and Tulsa has already proclaimed interest to bid for Amazon's new headquarters. "We have more North American headquarter locations of global companies than anywhere else in MI".

But Amazon's presence - and the high-paid workers it employs - has also been a major factor in creating a housing crisis in Seattle, which has the fastest-growing home prices in the country.

It even lists the number of non-Amazon jobs generated by the online giant's presence in Seattle, 53,000, and the number of hotel stays there previous year by Amazon employees and guests, about 233,000.

"A similar layout to Amazon's Seattle campus".

"Let's hold with what we have, and let's keep Amazon here, and if they want to set up a second satellite in a different city in a different state, that might be a sensible thing to do", Moon said.

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Kansas City is reportedly interested but the airport could fall short.

Its requirements could rule out some places: Amazon wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an worldwide airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as eight million square feet in the next decade. From 2010 to 2016, Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy.

Memo to HQ2 applicants: don't forget to include granular statistics that define the level of traffic congestion in your location on the RFP submission. We've got good schools. While every generation of Seattle renters are highly rent-burdened, according to one report, another report says tech workers in Seattle spend less of their income on housing than anywhere else. "We have a great place to live". It promised up to 50,000 jobs averaging over US$100,000 in yearly compensation for the next 10 to 15 years.

Amazon has been awarded 70 state and local subsidies, totaling at least $732.79 million in value since 2000, according to nonprofit Good Jobs First, which advocates for transparency on government subsidies.

"I think we have a discussion in Seattle where the left tries to out-left the left and the left", Murray said.

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