When online retail giant, Amazon, announced that they are looking for a new location for a second headquarters, mayors across the country started lining up to submit their bids. The new facility, dubbed HQ2, is meant to house as many as 50,000 workers and expected to cost upwards of $5 billion. Los Angeles was in good company when they confirmed that they would be bidding for the new headquarters; St. Louis, Pittsburg, Chicago, Nashville and many others all immediately announced their plans to enter the race.
In Amazon’s HQ2 RPF, they clearly stated their priorities and preferences for their second headquarters. Per the RFP, “Amazon has a preference for:
- Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
- A stable and business-friendly environment
- Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
- Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.”
The RFP also states that the ideal location of the second headquarters would be 30 miles or less from a population center, 45 minutes or less from an international airport and have accessible mass transit at the site.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stated that “L.A. is the perfect place for a company like Amazon to find talented workers and an environment that nurtures growth and innovation.” Amazon has nine fulfillment centers in California and announced plans to build two new more. The company also has a film and television production arm. Amazon Studios is based in Santa Monica but shoots many of its shows in the Los Angeles region. Los Angeles and Orange counties both appeal to Amazon’s stated priorities. Both countries have a large workforce available, nearby airports, nearby universities and access to West Coast ports, which are some of the busiest in the country. “The biggest advantage L.A. has is the concentration of talent,” said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s California Center and a managing economist at the Institute. “L.A. is a center for standard media and entertainment but also for newer media and online content.”
RFP responses are due back to Amazon’s Office of Economic Development on October 19, 2017, and the Final Site Selection will be in 2018, per the RFP. As news develops, this will be an exciting race to watch!