• Could Amazon call Orlando home? City on list for next global headquarters

    By: Christopher Heath


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Three-thousand miles from Lake Eola, Amazon’s corporate headquarters in Seattle is looking to expand, and Orlando is on the list.

    “The size and scope is just tremendous, it would be a game-changer for Central Florida,” said Tim Giuliani, of the Orlando Economic Partnership.  “Amazon is at a different level because of the size of the project.”

    The size is perhaps the most significant aspect of the deal.

    Read: Amazon plans to open second headquarters with up to 50,000 jobs 

    Amazon plans to hire 50,000 new full-time positions with an average pay of $100,000.  

    The company also needs 500,000 square feet of space at what will be its second headquarters, with plans to expand to 8 million square feet.  

    By comparison, Walt Disney World employs 53,500 people and the Orange County Convention Center has 2.1 million square feet of exhibit space.

    Read: Amazon hunting for 2nd home, cities start lining up to apply

    Amazon plans to make its announcement sometime in 2018. If Orlando is chosen, the company said it will need a 500,000 square-foot building immediately, as well as a “greenfield site of approximately 100 acres certified or pad ready.”

    The planned build-out for Amazon will come in three initial phases, each with a $300 million to $600 million capital investment, and a total investment of $5 billion.

    “Right now, we are still getting information from land owners, building owners and developers, and so we’re still walking through the process of matching up what they have to offer,” said Giuliani.  “So we’re working to bring it down to just a few to present to them.”

    Early indications for possible sites include Orlando’s Creative Village and Lake Nona development, however, the Economic Partnership says sites from Seminole to Osceola are being studied.

    In its request for proposal, Amazon lists several prerequisites for a site, including: Metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people, a stable and business-friendly environment, and urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.

    “Orlando would be a great choice to land the second headquarters because it has a great partnership with the colleges and universities around, including the University of Central Florida,” said Dominic Calabro, CEO of the Tallahassee-based Florida TaxWatch.  “We have a lot of universities that could provide the talent and people who could stay in central Florida.” 

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