PORTLAND, Ore. – City officials want Amazon to consider the Portland as a location for its massive second headquarters.
Amazon on Thursday announced it was accepting proposals from cities in North America interested in hosting a second company headquarters. Dubbed “HQ2,” Amazon said they plan to invest over $5 billion in the new headquarters.
The new headquarters would be in addition to Amazon’s primary headquarters in Seattle. The company says the new location could house up to 50,000 employees.
That kind of investment caught the attention of Prosper Portland, the city’s economic and urban development agency.
“We’re going to do everything in our collective power to make sure they know we have a strong case,” said Prosper Portland spokesman Shawn Uhlman.
Uhlman said the city hasn’t yet had any specific discussions with Amazon about the HQ2 project or any other large-scale development. But he said his agency plans to work with other city, county and state officials to come up with a strong pitch for Amazon.
Amazon says it’s looking for a metropolitan area with more than one million people for HQ2. The Portland Metro area has a population of about 2.4 million people, according to census data.
The company also prefers an urban or downtown campus, similar to their current operation in Seattle.
Uhlman said it’s too early to have specific locations in mind, although he said Portland is in a good position to offer such a site.
Prosper Portland currently owns the post office site in the Pearl District, which could house a large-scale commercial campus when the existing post office moves to its new location near the airport.
There is also property in the South Waterfront that could be suitable. Both locations have good access to existing transit lines.
Amazon has recently made sizable investments in the Portland area. The company plans to hire 1,500 employees to staff a fulfillment center currently under construction in Troutdale.
Amazon also bought Elemental Technologies in 2015 and just recently moved those employees into a new office space at the former Oregonian building on Southwest Broadway in Portland.
“That shows you not only that there is interest here but a recognition there is a talent pool here,” Uhlman said.
A single company employing 50,000 people in Portland would be unprecedented.
According to the Portland Business Journal, Intel is the metro area’s largest single employer with approximately 19,000 employees. Nike, for comparison, employed about 12,000 local employees before a recent round of layoffs.