By CHRISTINA ULSH
ulsh@LewisvilleTexan.com

Cities across the continent are competing to be the site of the next Amazon headquarters. The Dallas Chamber of Commerce has placed Castle Hills in its top eight submitted locations for DFW, Lewisville City Manager Donna Barron said.

Online retail giant Amazon announced early in September it would be accepting proposals from North American areas that want to be the home to Amazon HQ2, the first headquarters being in Seattle.

City of Lewisville staff submitted two location options to the Dallas Chamber, which is responsible for submitting the region’s site options, and mega-development Castle Hills was selected.

“Amazon will not make a short list until sometime in 2018. We are hoping they will short list the DFW area,” Barron wrote in an email. “We would be even happier if Castle Hills was the selected property!”

Economic development staff are working with Bright Industries, Castle Hills’ real estate developer, to submit project details, she said.

Bright spokesperson Jamie Hawkes said they are proposing the Crown Centre property off of Sam Rayburn Tollway for the project.

Bright has been preparing the vacant 135-acre commercial development tract for a large-scale corporate project for more than a year, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Amazon estimated it would spend $5 billion on construction of the new headquarters.

The retailer said it expects to hire about 50,000 new full-time employees, who will be paid an average annual total of more than $100,000 per employee, throughout the next 10 to 15 years following the end of construction.

Amazon wants its HQ2 to be built in a metro area with more than a million people and a stable, business-friendly environment with the potential to attract and retain tech workers.

Additional site preferences include competitive operating costs, incentives, labor force, logistics, time to operations, cultural compatibility and quality of life.

“Outline the type of incentive programs available for the Project at the state/province and local levels,” Amazon explained under its section of key preferences. “The initial cost and ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers.”

Amazon has previously chosen sites for warehouses across the U.S. where economic incentives are present for a total of $613 million in subsidies between 2005 and 2015, according to Vice’s Motherboard. Motherboard also notes that the company’s presence in Seattle has created growth in wealth but also growth in housing costs and traffic.

Potential HQ2 sites could be urban, have a similar layout to the Seattle headquarters or be a development-prepped site, but the proposed sites do not necessarily have to possess these qualities.

The Seattle campus of 33 buildings is a total of 8.1 million square feet of real estate with a capital investment of $3.7 billion, according to Amazon. It employs more than 40,000 workers, the total compensation to whom is $25.7 billion.

Amazon said HQ2 will be an equal to the Seattle headquarters.

The deadline to submit site proposals is Oct. 19.

Castle Hills is a more than 2,600-acre community within Lewisville’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. It has about 15,000 residents who live in nearly 4,000 homes and more than 400 apartments.

Steve Southwell and Leopold Knopp contributed to the reporting of this story.

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