Amazon

Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. The online retail giant said it was searching for a second headquarters in North America in 2017, a huge new development that would cost as much as $5 billion to build and run, and house as many as 50,000 employees.

It may be a longshot, but El Paso will make a pitch for the second headquarters that corporate giant Amazon wants to establish said Jon Barela, CEO of Borderplex Alliance.

“You bet we are,” he said. “We look forward to competing for this project and to submitting a compelling and creative response to Amazon that will highlight the region’s advantages as well as the advantages of El Paso.

“We will be putting forth a proposal that boxes out the unique assets that exist in El Paso, Doña Ana County and Ciudad Juárez.”

Amazon made the announcement just over a week ago and is only giving states and cities until Oct. 19 to submit their proposals. A selection is expected some time next year.

“That gives us enough time to put together a very compelling and creative proposal,” Barela said.

What’s at stake? A massive 50,000 new full-time jobs with an average annual compensation of $100,000 over the next 10 to 15 years, plus as much as 6 million square feet in building space and $5 billion in capital expenditures.

Amazon estimates that its investments in Seattle, its current corporate headquarters, added $38 billion to the city’s economy from 2010 to 2016.

So, cities will be competing hard for Amazon’s attention.

They’re looking for a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, a stable and business friendly environment and a community that will “attract and retain strong technical talent” that also thinks big.

The El Paso region is home to 2.7 million people, Barela said.

“We have a young and productive workforce and boast the largest bilingual community to my knowledge in North America,” he said.

And there’s plenty of room to grow.

“Many metropolitan areas cannot claim that,” he said.

Barela said he won’t have to go to the Borderplex Alliance board for approval to put together a package of offerings, but he will be consulting with the city and county governments to see what they can put on the table.

The Borderplex Alliance is a local nonprofit that leads business recruitment efforts in the region.

“Our region won’t take a backseat to anyone,” Mayor Dee Margo said in a statement Borderplex released Thursday. “El Paso should set its sights on big, ambitious projects that are reflective of the talented, ambitious people in our community.

“We are a competitive, smart choice for Amazon.”

The last, huge expansion project that invited national competition was in 2014 for the massive Tesla lithium battery plant. It started a competitive brawl that left only Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada standing.

Tesla asked for $500 million in cash up front and the plant went to the state known for gambling, Nevada, which offered a long list of lucrative incentives that have some people there questioning those decisions today.


Email El Paso Inc. reporter David Crowder at dcrowder@elpasoinc.com or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 122 and (915) 630-6622.

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