Prime Opportunity for St. Louis? Amazon Opens Search for 2nd HQ

Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun)

SEATTLE (KMOX/AP) — St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says the region will make a “very competitive pitch” to be the home of Amazon’s second headquarters.

Amazon opened its search Thursday, promising to spend more than $5 billion on whatever site it chooses in North America.

Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the new headquarters will be “a full equal” to its Seattle counterpart with as many as 50,000 jobs.

For comparison, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s western headquarters remaining in St. Louis meant keeping 3,100 jobs.

Amazon’s announcement is certain to create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the short list. The company estimates that investments in Seattle between 2010 and 2016 added $38 billion to that city’s economy.

There are 24 restaurants and cafes within Amazon’s Seattle campus alone, where more than 20,000 people are employed. The increase in personal income around the Seattle headquarters for people not employed by Amazon increased by about $17 billion due to direct investments, according to the company.

The company gave few hints about where it would land, but did say it is looking at metropolitan areas with populations of more than a million that have the potential to attract top technical talent.

An urban setting is Amazon’s preference. The request for proposals says the company is open to either new construction or redevelopment opportunities.

Downtown St. Louis has two newly vacant, large buildings — the former One AT&T Center is 1.4 million square feet and the Railway Exchange building, a former department store headquarters, is 1.2 million square feet. Meantime, in Midtown’s Cortex Innovation Community, construction is underway on a new regional headquarters for Microsoft. Square also has a large presence in Cortex.

The St. Louis Cardinals, meantime, think they’ve got the perfect piece of land right next door to Busch Stadium.

The largest online retailer says it needs 800,000 square feet off the bat but eventually wants to take up 8 million square feet on its future campus.

Amazon will hire thousands of new workers, but also said that people working at its Seattle headquarters will have the option of seeking a spot at the new site.

Cities and states are being advised by Amazon.com Inc. to visit http://www.amazon.com/amazonHQ2 for more information. They only have until October 19 to get their applications in.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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