'Phoenix, Amazona': Does the Valley have what Amazon wants for new HQ?

Could Phoenix be Amazon's next hot spot for its second headquarters?

The Phoenix area is already a prime location for Amazon.com. We're one of the web superstore's top shipping hubs.

Now the Valley's making a pitch to be Amazon's new second home.

"We might have ... to see if we can get the Legislature to change the name to 'Phoenix, Amazona,'" said Chris Camacho, chief executive officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

He's compiling the Valley's plan to win Amazon's "HQ2" -- its second headquarters, outside Seattle.

Amazon's holding out the prospect of up to 50,000 jobs long-term, with annual paychecks averaging $100,000.

"When you're talking 50,000 employees, you're actually adding a new city to metro Phoenix," Camacho said.

What Amazon wants at HQ2

Amazon has posted its shopping list for the new headquarters site. More than a dozen metro areas are in the mix.

Here's what the Valley can deliver to Amazon:

Land: When it comes to land, we have plenty of it. For starters, Amazon wants the equivalent of a shopping mall's worth of space.

"We'll have not only the first phase real estate, but even broader than that," Camacho said. 

Airport: An international airport nearby is a plus for Amazon. Sky Harbor Airport does have some international flights, but it's not LAX or Chicago or even Denver.

Public transit: The Valley's light rail and buses could satisfy Amazon's desire for public transit outside its front door.

Workforce: Amazon would bring typical headquarters jobs, plus large numbers of software engineers.

One recent ranking of tech talent rated Phoenix 17th in the country, and noted there's a brain drain here.

Camacho disagrees.

"I haven't had a company in the last 10 years that's moved here and hasn't been overwhelmingly excited by the talent and availability of labor in this marketplace," he said.

Incentives: These could be the decider for Amazon. By one estimate, government incentives to woo Amazon could climb into the billions of dollars.

"Our state will not be the state that leads the nation in the best incentive package," Camacho said.

Amazon has given cities one month to respond to its request for proposals.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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