Amazon’s plan to establish a second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, has been the recent center of attention for cities across the country. Irvine is one of 238 cities from all over North America vying to become the site of the new headquarters. These cities have been offering up all kinds of incentives from tax breaks to a 21-foot Saguaro cactus to their attempts to lure Amazon in.
Irvine Company announced on Sept. 8 that it planned to work with the city of Irvine to submit an insightful and fulfilling proposal for the city’s headquarters bid. The bid would also be a joint collaboration between local government and business leaders and the University of California, Irvine. Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren has said that he believed that Irvine was uniquely qualified to meet Amazon’s needs.
However, the institution of another major West Coast establishment has many concerned about geographic diversity. Senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson Tom Forte said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that “an East Coast establishment would provide Amazon new opportunities to test their consumer market.”
Amazon plans to invest $5 billion in constructing the headquarters and expects to employ 50,000 people once construction is completed, a number that is expected to increase by the thousands throughout the next decade. Amazon will be considering several factors in their selection process, including the chosen city’s weather, housing costs, the education level of the community and the accessibility of transportation. Incentives such as tax breaks will be crucial to lure in Amazon and almost a necessity to be a competitive city in the pool of applicants.
According to an interview with the Orange County Register, Lucy Dunn, the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Business Council, said that “working together as a region would help Irvine’s chance of winning. Every city in Orange County has unique assets they could highlight such as beaches, universities, entertainment and public transportation. It’s a worthy project for all cities in Orange County to unify and support that Orange County wins the race.”
If Irvine is able to secure this bid, the benefit that would come from the increase in high-paying jobs and opportunities would extend to every city in Orange County. Having an Amazon Headquarters stationed in Irvine would also provide national exposure to the city, which would attract more young talent from across the globe to the area.
Though many believe that the city of Irvine is well-qualified to meet Amazon’s needs for their new headquarters, the competition will not be easy. Irvine will be facing off against some of the nation’s largest cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and many more. Amazon’s final decision for the location of HQ2 will be revealed in 2018.