Come on downnnnnnnnnn! You could be the lucky winner of a new Amazon headquarters, complete with $5 billion in investment, 50,000 “high-paying jobs,” and plenty more economic development.
Amazon announced on Thursday that it’s soliciting proposals for “HQ2″— Amazon’s second headquarters and its first outside of its Seattle home.
The weirdly public announcement appears meant to stir up publicity and bids while also making the case that Amazon is a public good. Amazon is currently on its way to taking over much of downtown Seattle, which has undoubtedly brought economic development but also gentrification along with it.
It’s also the second time in the past couple months that Amazon has made what is usually a relatively mundane and routine part of business into an over-the-top publicity stunt. Amazon Jobs Day was the company’s attempt to turn its usual hiring for low-level warehouse jobs into a festival.
These efforts come as Amazon is battling a growing perception that it is becoming too powerful. Quiet calls for the U.S. government to consider taking a closer look at Amazon have turned public, bolstered by Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods, which single-handedly tanked the stocks of most major grocers and retailers.
Amazon’s new headquarters will almost certainly mean big things for whatever city wins the company’s favor. Companies know this and often negotiate aggressively with cities for preferential treatment, particularly on taxes. Tech manufacturer Foxconn recently agreed to build a factory in Wisconsin—a deal that included $3 billion in tax subsidies.
Amazon said it was looking for a city with “strong local and regional talent” in software development but added that “a stable and business-friendly environment” will be important as well. That’s basically code for low taxes and regulation.
“We encourage cities to think big and be creative,” the company wrote in an announcement.
Feel like your city could be the one? Feel free to reply to Amazon’s public request for proposal.