Amazon kicks off search for a second North American headquarters

Amazon just made a huge announcement that's going to have very exciting implications for one lucky North American city. The company revealed today that it's searching for a spot to build a second headquarters. This won't be some kind of satellite office, but rather one that Amazon says will be equal in size and importance to its current headquarters in Seattle.

What's interesting is that in its announcement today, Amazon doesn't mention the US specifically, suggesting that cities in Canada and Mexico are up for consideration as well. Amazon has a rather specific list of preferences for the site of its second headquarters, stating that it would like to build in a metropolitan area with more than one million people that's also a "stable and business-friendly environment."

With Amazon's existing headquarters comprising 33 buildings, cities may have a difficult time finding a suitable location for HQ2, as it's being called. Amazon says that it encourages cities vying for HQ2 to think outside the box in terms of construction sites. At the same, it says that while cities are free to be creative with real estate options, it isn't interested in solutions that extend its timeline for construction.

For cities that can meet Amazon's requirements, the benefits could be huge. Amazon estimates that it will invest over $5 billion in construction, and eventually grow HQ2 to house as many as 50,000 jobs. That isn't counting the "tens of thousands of additional jobs" it estimates that such a large construction project will add. It also points to estimates that its Seattle headquarters has injected $38 billion into the local economy over the past seven years.

So, expect to see many big cities across North America begin vying for Amazon's commitment. Considering the west coast location of Amazon's existing headquarters, a more eastern location makes sense, so don't be surprised to see cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago make the short list. Amazon doesn't say when it wants to be finished with construction on HQ2, but since it's already accepting proposals, we should see the ball begin rolling soon.