News alert

Killeen won’t be among the long list of cities bidding to be the home for the new Amazon headquarters. It has, however, been asked by the Austin Chamber of Commerce to support its bid for the online commerce company, according to John Crutchfield, the executive director of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation.

“Often when we talk about our economic environment, we talk about all of Central Texas,” said Luke Sheffield, a spokesman for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, referencing the help from Killeen.

The second North American headquarters, dubbed Amazon HQ2, will cost $5 billion in construction and house as many as 50,000 employees. It will be a “full equal” to the Seattle campus, which currently has 33 buildings and 24 restaurants and cafes spread over 8.1 million square feet. The campus generated 233,000 hotel visits in 2016, according to the Amazon website, and created 53,000 additional jobs indirectly in Seattle.

The Seattle-based Amazon announced in the beginning of September that it is searching for another city to build a second headquarters. Officials from Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio have all expressed interest in becoming the Jeff Bezos-led company’s new home, according to Texas Monthly.

Amazon has a preference for a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, a stable and business-friendly environment, an urban or suburban location with potential to attract strong technical talent and a community that “thinks big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options,” according to the request for proposal.

Additionally, the site must be within 30 miles of the center of the city, no further away than 2 miles away from a major highway, within 45 minutes from an international airport and have access to mass public transit on site.

Amazon has not come out and given a reason for why it wants to expand away from Seattle. However, the Seattle Times reported in August that the company owns 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, and has quickly driven up the cost of living in the city. It’s unsure how much more rapid growth the city can substain in the future.

Despite the laundry list of cities both large and small that have shown interest, Amazon employees have been rather tight-lipped about the whole operation. Higher populated cities like Toronto, New York City, Boston, Oakland, California, Denver and Cincinnati have all made the short list of cities being considered. But officials of smaller cities like Birmingham, Alabama, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, have also made their sales pitch known.

254-501-7552 | sullivan@kdhnews.com

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