Jacksonville to submit proposal for second Amazon headquarters

FCN's Julia Jenae breaks down what an Amazon headquarters would mean for the Jacksonville area.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Lenny Curry has confirmed that the City of Jacksonville will be submitting a proposal to become the newest home for Amazon, as the company pursues a second headquarters in North America.

Due to the recent growth of the company, the online retail and entertainment giant announced in September its intentions to open a second North American headquarters, referred to as HQ2, equal in size to Amazon's current campus in Seattle. A competitive site selection process is currently underway. 

Amazon has said they expect to invest over $5 billion into the project and following commencement of operations it would offer as many as 50,000 "high-paying" jobs within 10 to 15 years. The available jobs would be full-time positions with average annual salaries exceeding $100,000 per employee, according to Amazon.

The project overview states that job categories at the new headquarters would include administrative, executive, engineering with a preference for software development engineers, legal and accounting.

As a direct result of the business, Amazon said it expects to "create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry confirmed on Friday plans the city has to submit a proposal for Amazon's new headquarters.

"My team and I are committed to doing everything we can to bring jobs and economic opportunities to Jacksonville," Curry said in a statement Friday. "Therefore, we are in the process of putting together a proposal to submit for this opportunity."

In the project overview Amazon notes that it has a preference for metropolitan areas with more than one million people, a stable and business-friendly environment, urban or suburban locations and communities that "think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options."

Amazon has said that its second headquarters could be a preexisting downtown campus, one similar in layout to the Seattle campus, or a development-prepped site. The ideal location, according to Amazon, would be one that is already built and is no more than 30 miles from the population center, within 45 minutes of an international airport, no more than two miles from a major highway, with access to mass transit on-site.

To Jacksonville's benefit, Amazon included bus routes in the description of mass transit, along with direct access to rail, train and subway. 

The first phase of the project would require at least 500,000 square feet of initial office space, with up to 8 million square feet available by 2027. The required capital investment for the first phase of the project is estimated to be no more than $600 million. The required investment would vary depending on the existing building that would need to be purchased and retrofitted.

"Amazon will continue to invest in its facilities to ensure we offer a state-of-the-art workplace for our employees. States, provinces and metro economic development organizations should consider this as they suggest potential sites."

Amazon's Seattle headquarters is made up of 33 separate buildings, with a total of 8.1 million square feet of office space. With over 40,000 employees staffed in Seattle, the company has paid approximately $43 million to the city's publican transportation system since 2010, according to Amazon. An additional 53,000 jobs have been created in Seattle as an indirect result of Amazon's investments, the company has said.

Amazon has encouraged interested parties to include multiple real estate sites for the potential headquarters. The deadline to submit a proposal is Oct. 19 of this year, with a final site selection and announcement scheduled to take place sometime in 2018.

"My administration is keenly focused on economic growth and would like to see Amazon’s presence grow," Curry said. "I strongly believe Jacksonville has all the attributes that make for a great place to do business, including a strong labor force, a low cost of doing business, and a great quality of life."

Follow Jordan Ferrell on Twitter at @J_E_Ferrell.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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