Bakersfield uses long-shot Amazon pitch to 'push the limits'

The Amazon fulfillment warehouse is seen in a 2015 file photo from MGN Online. ( Scott Lewis / CC BY 2.0)

Amazon is looking to build its second headquarters, and Bakersfield hopes it's done here.

The online retail giant is currently based in Seattle and wants another campus in North America.

Bakersfield has officially thrown its name into the mix. The city is competing against 238 others.

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Amazon details what it's looking for in a city. Being the new HQ2 location would mean getting $5 billion of investment for construction and 50,000 jobs.

"If handled right and if a city takes that on carefully and plans for it correctly, it could be a real benefit for the community," said Jacqui Kitchen, Bakersfield Community Development director.

Bakersfield's pitch focuses on being a growing city that's affordable.

It also mentions how Bakersfield is centrally located in California, making it easy to get to Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Kitchen said it is also a plus that Bakersfield is a station location for the proposed future high-speed rail.

"That creates an opportunity for Amazon and others to have an affordable home base here, while also attract a workforce from potentially the entire state," she said.

In the pitch, city officials describe Bakersfield as the "total package."

Amazon did make it clear the company prefers to build in a city that has a population of more than 1 million people.

"It was a preference, but wasn't an absolute mandate," Kitchen said. "What Bakersfield does have is we are located in a growing population. We're projected to reach a million people by 2040 in the greater Kern County area."

Kitchen said she agrees it's a long shot, and our chances are low, but this proposal is much more than winning.

"I think it's a new day, it's a new chapter for the city of Bakersfield," Kitchen said. "This was a great exercise for us to really look at what it takes to pitch a city."

Kitchen said the point of submitting a proposal was to be forward thinking and "push the limits a little bit."

"We're looking at new ways to explore and attract businesses, and this helped put us on that path forward," she said.

The full Bakersfield proposal can be read here.

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