At the start of September, Amazon.com announced their plan to build a secondary North American headquarters.
The announcement has opened up a bidding war to be a second home for the online retailer.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a press release issued by the company. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home.”
The state of Nevada has offered subsides, tax breaks and other incentives to land corporate footprints for Apple, Tesla, Panasonic, Switch and Google, along with others. The Amazon press release included a bulleted list of conditions for its new home.
“In choosing the location for HQ2, Amazon has a preference for:
- Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
- A stable and business-friendly environment
- Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
- Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options
HQ2 could be, but does not have to be:
- An urban or downtown campus
- A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus
- A development-prepped site. We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline.”
So how does this make Northern Nevada attractive to Amazon?
The whole population of one million would definitely be the biggest hit. The Reno-Carson City-Fernley combined census had a population of 613,608 as of last year. However, this wouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent for Amazon to pick Nevada.
The Silver State certainly has a business-friendly tax environment. Personal finance website The Balance recently ranked Nevada as the fourth most tax-friendly state for business and tax policy think-tank Tax Foundation ranked as the fifth. A “business-friendly environment” is generally code for educated workforces combined with low corporate tax rates and government entities willing to consider subsidies and incentives for new projects. CNBC placed Nevada in America’s Top States for Business 2016, giving the state above-average marks for infrastructure, business friendliness, workforce and cost of doing business.
Amazon’s Reno warehouse is chock full of the company’s latest technology, including a space-maximizing warehouse layout, forklifts guided by floor wiring for pinpoint steering and “box on demand” machinery. The 630k sqft. facility opened in 2015 and now employs 600 people. The Amazon HQ2 is expected to employ an impressive 50,000. Reno’s close proximity to Silicon Valley has made it an attractive destination for techies looking to escape California’s state income tax.
On top of everything else, Amazon’s drone delivery initiative in Nevada lines up well with a state friendly to unmanned aerial vehicles. Flirtey, a Reno-based drone delivery company, made 77 deliveries to Renoites from a 7-Eleven store in November last year, and the University of Nevada has worked with NASA to develop an air traffic management system to coordinate drone traffic.
Amazon has also called for communities with creative and big locations and real estate options. Nevada is not lacking in this department. The Tahoe Reno Industrial Center covers 107,000 acres, enough to fit 2,500 Tesla Gigafactories.
Will Amazon choose Nevada for its next big headquarters? Keep up with our blog to find out!
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