Rhode Island to bid on 2nd Amazon headquarters

PROVIDENCE, R.I.  — Rhode Island officials plan to throw their hat in the ring for a new Amazon headquarters.

Matt Sheaff, of the state's economic development agency CommerceRI, said Thursday that Rhode Island is in a position to make a competitive application and plans to do so.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant says it will spend more than $5 billion to build a second headquarters in North America with as many as 50,000 jobs. It says it's looking at metropolitan areas with populations of more than a million that have the potential to attract top technical talent.

Sheaff says the state has had some recent successes in attracting other companies, such as GE Digital and Johnson and Johnson. He says they know it will be competitive.

Cities have until next month to apply through a special website, and Amazon said it will make a final decision next year.

Amazon is growing rapidly: In just the last month it announced plans to build three new warehouses in Oregon, New York and Ohio, to pack and ship packages. And it recently paid close to $14 billion to buy organic grocer Whole Foods and its more than 465 stores. The company plans to hire 100,000 people by the middle of next year.

There are 24 restaurants and cafes within Amazon's Seattle campus alone, where more than 40,000 people are employed. The increase in personal income around the Seattle headquarters for people not employed by Amazon increased by about $17 billion due to direct investments, according to the company.