Amazon is now officially searching for a second headquarters in North America, the tech giant announced on Thursday, estimating that its Amazon HQ2 project will cost around $5 billion in terms of construction alone. The office complex that's meant to complement the firm's existing campus in Seattle, Washington, will span millions of square feet and consist of dozens of buildings including hospitality establishments like restaurants and cafes, the company suggested. Not accounting for direct hirings set to work in the future headquarters, Amazon believes its project will contribute to the economy by creating tens of thousands of construction jobs, as well as openings in related industries. Likewise, the e-commerce giant stated that its campus will attract significant additional investments in the city it chooses, estimating those to be in the "tens of billions of dollars" range. For added context, the firm previously estimated its first campus attracted approximately $38 billion in additional investments in the economy of Seattle, whereas Fortune 500 companies with R&D or engineering units in the area went from seven to 31 since the company opened its first headquarters in 2010.
The complex itself is envisioned as housing up to 50,000 high-paying employees and is now officially in the planning phase, with Amazon launching a related Request for Proposal. Both local and state government heads are now encouraged to submit their proposals to host Amazon's second North America headquarters, with the firm explicitly stating that it's looking for a city with a strong local or regional talent core in engineering, software development, and related fields. Amazon's ideal location would also have a "business-friendly" administration which would facilitate the company's efforts to innovate across a wide variety of industries, the firm said. In a prepared statement, Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos asserted that its second North America headquarters will be at least equal to the Seattle complex or even surpass it in terms of size and employee count.
Once completed, the second headquarters will see the company hire entirely new teams, in addition to allowing HQ1 executives to relocate their staff to HQ2 or opt to work from both locations. Many employees will also be given the opportunity to relocate if they so choose, Amazon said. No specific timelines for the project's completion have yet been given, though the public proposal process which officially starts today will run until October 19, indicating that Amazon may choose its preferred location by the end of the year.