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Amazon second HQ hunt remains wide open

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Amazon’s quest to create a second headquarters complex led to a claim and then a denial that Boston was the leading contender to land the expansion prize.

“We are searching for Amazon HQ2, a second headquarters city in North America,” Amazon tweeted on Sept. 7, a posting that marked the start of a battle among numerous cities — along with rampant speculation and rumor-mongering — about which city would land the headquarters.

The tech titan said it would spend $5 billion on a second headquarters that would hold up to 50,000 new employees.

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Bloomberg News reported that Boston was the top choice of the online giant as the new headquarters, perhaps because Boston is a tech center on the other side of the country from the company’s home base.

Seattle-based Amazon quickly tossed cold water on that report.

“Bloomberg is incorrect,” the online marketplace tweeted. “There are no front-runners at this point.”

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Officials in San Jose said they are interested in the Bay Area’s largest city becoming the second headquarters for the company.

“San Jose could certainly accommodate 50,000 additional jobs from Amazon,” said Kim Walesh, San Jose’s director of economic development.

The South Bay community said its current growth plans call for the creation of 380,000 new jobs in San Jose between now and 2040. The growth plan also envisions the addition of 120,000 residential units, which could house 400,000 new residents.

“Part of what Amazon is looking for is a really robust labor market where they could hire professional and technical people over the long-term,” Walesh said.

Amazon unit Lab 126 already has offices in downtown San Jose. Lab 126 also leases a big office complex in Sunnyvale.

The tech company said the process has only just begun.

“We’re just getting started and every city is on an equal playing field,” Amazon tweeted.

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It’s possible that not everyone would welcome Amazon with open arms, either on the East Coast or in the Bay Area. Some Bay Area residents are concerned that the region’s broadening job boom has contributed to problems such as skyrocketing home prices and worsening traffic woes.

“For the love of god, please exclude the Bay Area from contention,” one Twitter member nicknamed “Jake” tweeted.

Kathy Cahill, who claims to be based in Boston, tweeted: “Please don’t consider Boston. Our housing prices are high enough.”

Photo by AP

Tags: amazon, Commercial real estate, development, economy, Jobs, San Jose, Silicon Valley, Tech

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