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Amazon wants to build a 2nd HQ; Bob Duffy says, 'Why not Rochester?'

(WXXI News & AP) Amazon, bursting out of its Seattle headquarters, is hunting for a second home. Must haves: A prime location, close to transit, with plenty of space to grow. 

The company said Thursday that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees. It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be ``a full equal'' of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. 

Well, what about Rochester?  That’s what Bob Duffy is asking. He is the President and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and he’s written a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, suggesting the mega-retailer consider this region for the expansion.

“We have a great location, and plus, we have lower costs in terms of real estate, a lot of room, and we have a city, a county, a region that would welcome and embrace Amazon, so the best thing to do is give it a try and we’re going to give it our best shot.”

Duffy says he wrote a letter to Bezos in January offering this region for possible expansion, and hearing just now of the need for another Amazon headquarters, he has sent Bezos a second letter making the case for Rochester as a location.

Our neighbor to the west, Buffalo, is making a similar pitch to Amazon. Duffy says that’s fine with him, competition is good, and maybe the two cities could even work together in this effort.

“Certainly Buffalo would be a formidable opponent, but maybe, you never know, we could partner and  both benefit from something. I saw today, 50,000 jobs were being mentioned, that would be one of the greatest shots in the arm we could ever ask for; you never know, maybe it’s something that in the end, if we put our heads together, we could both win," Duffy told WXXI News.

Amazon's announcement highlights how fast the company is expanding and is certain to create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the short list. They have a little more than a month to apply through a special website , and the company said it will make a final decision next year.  


Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.