Will Amazon Bring #HQTWO2STL?
Amazon has been in the news quite a bit over the course of recent months, most recently with its acquisition of Whole Foods. The company has shown a willingness to adapt to changing technology and innovate well beyond what is traditionally expected of an ecommerce company.
Poised for continued growth, Amazon needs more space, and has launched a continent-wide RFP process to find a home for a second North American corporate headquarters, which will equal the company’s original facility in Seattle.
HQ2 is expected to cost $5 billion to construct and operate, employing as many as 500,000.
This is an open competition, and anyone can participate, although Amazon is encouraging regions to work together to develop a single bid. We are happy to see that St. Louis has thrown its hat into the ring, but our friends in Illinois don’t seem very willing to work towards a single solution, with the Belleville News Democrat reporting that St. Clair county is submitting its own bid to Amazon.
The RFP instructs cities to send information “on behalf of your metropolitan statistical area (MSA), state/province, county, city and the relevant localities therein.” Because of this, it may be counterintuitive for the region to submit dueling proposals.
While bringing Amazon to St. Louis may be a pipe dream, we can dream, can’t we?
Every city that submits a bid to Amazon will have its strengths and weaknesses and St. Louis is no different. If those in charge can play nice together, St. Louis should receive a fair amount of consideration for HQ2.
Below are just a few reasons Amazon could work in St. Louis:
Amazon wants a location within 45 miles of an International Airport. St. Louis checks that box, and Lambert has recently expanded to add new international flights. St. Louis is also centrally located and at one time was one of the biggest freight hubs in the country. They don’t call it the Gateway to the West for nothing.
Amazon has a taste of the area – with two large distribution centers in Edwardsville, and is hiring for a new part-time facility in Hazelwood.
St. Louis has a great tech culture – St. Louis is quickly becoming the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, and being awarded Amazon would officially grant the city such a title. We’re not there yet, but the tech market continues to grow powered by innovative startups. It also doesn’t hurt that in 2015 Jack Dorsey brought Square to St. Louis.
There’s Land – Between the city and the county, there are plenty of possible sites for Amazon – whether that’s a plot of land ready to go or one that needs to be cleared. That wasn’t a problem when North St. Louis was awarded the new NGA headquarters. Amazon could continue to develop blighted areas of the city, and leadership seems more willing to help Amazon than they were Major League Soccer.