Amazon’s empire just keeps getting bigger, and although it’s conquered much digital territory, we’re actually talking about its geographical empire this time. In addition to the second headquarters Amazon plans to build in whichever U.S. city extends the best offer, it’s also got new offices and warehouses in the works both domestically and abroad.
Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Detroit, Austin, Boston and Chicago. So far, these are the contenders to play home to Amazon’s proposed second headquarters, with plenty of time for more cities to throw their hats into the ring before the October RFO deadline.
But those are all fairly obvious submissions. They’re places where the company already has a presence and where resources and infrastructure could support a technology heavyweight like Amazon. More recently, a less-likely candidate has made its bid. Concord, California, a neighbor to two of the three other Golden State contenders, thinks it can make a better offer.
This Bay Area city advertised ample office options at one-half to one-quarter the price of nearby Oakland and San Francisco. Plus, it’s redeveloping its old naval base into a transit-oriented development with millions of feet of office, commercial and research and development space, plus 12,000 housing units.
This could be an interesting opportunity for Amazon to grow organically with its environment, but it remains to be seen whether the company will bite. It’s also worth noting that the naval base redevelopment plans have not been fully approved yet.
Amazon is opening a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in metro Detroit and plans to hire 1,000 employees to fill it. The company has plans to add several large and small distribution centers in southeast Michigan, but this is the first large one in the state.
Township leaders are ecstatic, yet some fear the company could kill more jobs than it creates because of its threat to the retail sector. The distribution centers are supposed to reduce delivery time on packages, which undercuts one of the last remaining advantages of brick-and-mortar retail: instant gratification.
Someone has been putting up signs in protest at the worksite, including a banner that read “Amazon = Devastation.”
Amazon is leasing 107,000 square feet of office space in University City to increase its San Diego footprint. That’s enough to accommodate 500 or more employees and marks the company’s first significant presence in the county, with only a small Solana Beach office and some distribution facilities to of which to speak until now.
One possible reason for the selection of San Diego is the city’s proximity to UC San Diego, which graduates 10,000 students a year — a guaranteed talent pipeline right next door. Amazon has also acquired some local startups, including sensor developer Lumedyne Technologies, which may have contributed to the decision.
South of the border, Amazon has plans to open a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Mexico City sometime within the next year. The planned facility would triple the company’s distribution space in the country. Amazon has only been in Mexico since 2013 when it launched its Kindle e-books site there. However, CNBC reports that it is growing much faster than competitors including Walmart.
Mexico presently has a $50 limit on online purchases that can be imported duty-free, but talks are ongoing with the U.S. about potentially raising that cap, a development which would benefit Amazon.
Obligatory Whole Foods Update
In its first week owning Whole Foods, Amazon saw big victories, especially in terms of online ordering.
One of Amazon’s first moves was to slash prices on 2,000 items under the organic grocer’s 365 Everyday Value brand, which became available online from the company last Monday. Whole Foods-branded product sales tallied $500,000 in the first week.
Amazon’s Whole Foods has also seen a 25 percent uptick in foot traffic since the acquisition was finalized.