NEW YORK — Amazon is on the hunt for a second home.
The e-commerce giant said Thursday that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America. Amazon will stay put in its sprawling Seattle headquarters, and the new space will be "a full equal" with as many as 50,000 jobs, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
The announcement is certain to create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the short list. Cities have until next month to apply through a special website , and the company said it will make a final decision next year. It gave few hints about where it would land, but did say it is looking at metropolitan areas with populations of more than a million that have the potential to attract top technical talent.
Amazon is growing rapidly: In just the last month it announced plans to build three new warehouses in Oregon, New York and Ohio, to pack and ship packages. And it recently paid close to $14 billion to buy organic grocer Whole Foods and its more than 465 stores. The company plans to hire 100,000 people by the middle of next year.
There are 24 restaurants and cafes within Amazon's Seattle campus alone, where more than 40,000 people are employed. The increase in personal income around the Seattle headquarters for people not employed by Amazon increased by about $17 billion due to direct investments, according to the company.
Amazon operates two fulfillment warehouses in Florida in Ruskin and Lakeland. Whole Foods Market has three stores in Tampa Bay: two in Tampa and one in Clearwater.