Kansas City to make 'aggressive bid' for Amazon Headquarters

Posted at 11:27 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 07:20:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Amazon is shopping for a city to house a second headquarters and city leaders want the company to choose Kansas City.

On Thursday, the company made a surprise announcement opening up requests for proposals for the $5 billion construction project that could create up to 50,000 jobs.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said the city will put forward an "aggressive bid."

"It would be huge, you're talking 50,000 new technology workers making six-figure salaries. The economic spinoff would be enormous," Greg Flisram, senior vice president of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC), said.

Flisram told 41 Action News the EDCKC has already started to work on the bid, on behalf of the city.

Kansas City will be competing against cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which have announced they will also submit bids.

Amazon has listed a series of requirements for the new location, including a metropolitan area that has a population greater than one million people, a "stable and business-friendly environment," and an area that can attract and retain technical workers.

Here is how Kansas City fares with the company's key preferences, according to Flisram. 

Site Requirement: Existing buildings that are at least 500,000 square feet OR undeveloped sites that measure about 100 acres

"I can think of at least three or four sites that would meet that criteria within city limits," said Flisram.

Site Proximity: Within two miles of a major highway and access to mass transit, such as a bus route

"We have more linear miles of freeway per capita than anybody in the U.S.," Flisram said. "And we have a pretty good transportation here. It's bus-focused but we have a streetcar system that is on the verge of being expanded."

Airport Proximity: Within 45 minutes of a major international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area and Washington D.C.

"If we don't improve our airport and improve our flight options in our city, we won't be able to attract companies like Amazon here," Flisram said.

Bids for the new offices are due by Oct. 19 and the company is expected to make its choice by next year.

In a news release, the company said that every dollar it has invested in Seattle, where it's first headquarters is located, has generated an additional $1.40 for the city's overall economy.

Amazon already has a small footprint in the metro with fulfillment centers stretching from Edgerton, Kansas to Kansas City, Kansas.

"It's going to be very competitive but I think we have as good a chance as anybody," Flisram said.