Georgia expects Amazon officials to visit potential headquarter sites soon

- Georgia officials say they expect Amazon's site selection team to begin making visits to prospective cities as soon as this month.

The e-commerce giant is hunting for a location for its second headquarters and the 50,000 corporate jobs that come with it.

State officials recently offered a glimpse into the official bid for HQ2, a proposal that includes urban and suburban sites, and highlights the region's workforce, research universities, transit, and airport connections.

State law allows Georgia's recruiters to keep details of the bid secret.

But Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce Tom Croteau recently provided an overview that showed not only the scale of what Amazon has said it wants, but how the state and its partners are recruiting the company.

"This is or would be the largest economic development project in the history of Georgia: 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment over 15 years," Croteau told the agency's board of directors at a recent meeting in Midtown Atlanta.

Georgia pitched a menu of locations that can be a self-contained campus and others that stitch together multiple sites into a campus within the fabric of in-town and suburban communities, Croteau said.

"We have some to the north, some to the south and some both to the east and to the west," he said.

Amazon has made it clear that it needs 500,000 to 750,000 square feet immediately, and about that much in additional space every 18 months through 2027, Croteau said.

Those needs could be fulfilled by both existing buildings or new ones.

Though real estate is critical in the company's decision - and developers and local governments submitted about 70 Atlanta area sites to a state website - a capable workforce is Amazon's No. 1 priority, Croteau said.

The state's bid emphasizes its workforce, which he called the driver of Amazon's project, as well as cultural and transportation amenities.

Croteau said site visits across the country are expected to happen in November and December with the decision in 2018, but the process will happen over multiple phases.

"It's no surprise to us for such a big decision with 50,000 jobs in the balance that a company would take nine to 12 months in this process," he said. "With 238 locations submitting, it will certainly take a while."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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