Milwaukee makes bid for second Amazon HQ

Would house up to 50,000 jobs

Amazon fulfillment Kenosha's is one of the companies that has located along I-94 in Kenosha County.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett sent a letter to’s chief executive officer today indicating the city’s interest in becoming the site of the online retailer’s second North American headquarters.

The company announced on its website today it is soliciting proposals from cities for its new $5 billion headquarters, which would employ as many as 50,000 new full-time employees and be “a full equal” to its existing headquarters in Seattle. 

Amazon fulfillment Kenosha has a fulfillment center in Kenosha.

Amazon said it’s looking for 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.

The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro area has a population of 1.6 million, according to 2015 census data.

“As I read the great news about Amazon’s decision to build a second headquarters, I became even more excited reading the description of your requirements,” Barrett said in a letter to Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos. “I’m proud to say Milwaukee meets all your requirements and even prouder to say our incredible renaissance would compliment your vision.”

Barrett said the city plans to submit a formal proposal to Amazon next month. See more in a report from WISN-TV, Channel 12, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

Officials with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and Milwaukee 7, the region’s economic development partnership, meanwhile, declined to say whether Wisconsin plans to submit a  proposal to Amazon, both citing policies of not commenting on potential economic development opportunities.

WEDC spokesman Mark Maley added in a statement:

“Under Governor Walker, the state has turned around its economy, cut taxes by more than $4.7 billion and implemented numerous pro-business policies that have resulted in Wisconsin being ranked in the Top 10 of ‘Best Places to Do Business.’ These initiatives, coupled with our dedicated workforce, outstanding education system and reliable infrastructure, have put Wisconsin on the radar screen of major corporations from around the world as they seek to expand their operations.”

“As companies such as Foxconn and Haribo have discovered, there are many great reasons for establishing operations in Wisconsin,” Maley added.

Amazon has a significant presence in southeastern Wisconsin with its 1.1 million-square-foot fulfillment center and 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Kenosha. 

Amazon said construction and ongoing operation of the new North American headquarters is expected to create “tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community,” in addition to the company’s direct hiring and investment.

The company said its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to Seattle’s economy. The Seattle campus has more than 40,000 employees.

Average annual total compensation for employees at the new campus could be more than $100,000, the company said. 

BizTimes Reporter Arthur Thomas contributed to this report.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.