SEATTLE — It’s been a few days since Amazon announced they are looking to build a second headquarters outside of Seattle. It remains the buzz among people who live in the Puget Sound and those who want Amazon’s headquarters in their city.
Some of the suggested cities where Amazon could potentially go include Austin, Chicago, and Minneapolis, to name a few. All of it is pure speculation at this point, of course. But just because other cities outside of the state are getting ready to pull out the red carpet for Amazon, so are cities within the state, too.
The city of Tacoma has gained interest in luring Amazon to the South Sound, along with the northern cites of Bothell and Everett. At stake here is an injection of an estimated 50,000 jobs and the creation of a headquarters that could be as much as 8 million-square-feet big by the year 2027.
The cities have to meet Amazon’s requirements to be considered. One, they're looking for a place that is at least 45 minutes or less from an international airport. The city must also not be more than two miles from a major highway and should have direct access to mass transit.
Potential cities should have a highly educated labor pool and a population of at least a million people.
Q13 News talked with state Sen. Guy Palumbo, a Democrat who represents the state’s 1st Legislative District, which includes Bothell and Maltby.
Palumbo, who used to be a senior manager at Amazon, said the Bothell area doesn’t have the population requirements itself, which is why he is selling the region as a reason why Amazon needs to stay in Washington.
"In the case of Everett, you have a long history in dealing with an industry like aerospace, that's been proven to be pro-business and business friendly unlike what's going on in Seattle,” said Palumbo. “That's a major asset and that appears to be what Amazon is looking for the most. Bothell also has some strategic assets in terms of the biotech cluster and engineering talent in Canyon Park.”
In Tacoma, city officials believe they also meet the criteria for what Amazon is looking for. As reported in the News-Tribune, since the year 2000 Tacoma has added 2,400 jobs and has room to add 80,000 more through the year 2040. Experts believe that other places like in Texas for example, will provide Amazon with business friendly incentives and tax breaks.
According to Palumbo, he said the region’s strength is the ready-to-go workforce. He also said there are many lessons to learn from Amazon’s growth in Seattle.
Both in Tacoma and in Bothell, city and state officials want Amazon to know the workforce is ready to go here.
They also say they plan to take a different approach to city planning, learning from lessons in Seattle.
"When you talk about 50,000 jobs, there is enough to go around. I think it's in our best interest to keep this in our state and for our economy. I don't think one given municipality is really going to rank high against, say, a state like Texas. We want the jobs here. If we have to spread it around, we should do that,” said Palumbo.
Amazon just tweeted out that there are no front-runners at this point and that every city is on equal playing field. Interested cities have until October 19 to submit their proposals to Amazon.