Amazon to St. Louis (Amazon2STL) potential sites

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Amazon SEA

Amazon’s Seattle Campus has been transformational for their Downtown.

Today, as many of us know, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has announced that they are looking for a “Second Home” in regards to their corporate offices. In other words, they are looking for a Second City to call home. The ambition? A $5 Billion development capable of holding up to 50,000 Employees. When the news was announced, St. Louis (and literally every single other large U.S. City) jumped into the bidding process to get Amazon to build, what they call, HQ2.

According to the press release on Amazon’s website, “HQ 2 is to be a full equal to Amazon’s current campus in Seattle, creating as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars ($38 Billion) in additional investment in the surrounding community”. The possible $38 Billion return investment into the local economy, hopefully in St. Louis, would do wonders on magnitudes not yet seen here. Furthermore, Amazon wants HQ2 to be in a region that has a population of more than 1 Million people. The St. Louis region has nearly 3 Million so we’re fine on that criteria. Because of the significance of this project, both Mayor Krewson and County Executive Steve Stenger have formed a team to make “one of the most competitive bids” for Amazon’s HQ2 project. So now the questions are, “where is this going to go?” and, “Is regional fragmentation going to slow, and possibly derail the bid altogether?”

Lets find out.

Judging by how quick both Mayor Krewson and County Executive Stenger jumped on this to work together, it seems the fragmented region is slowly trying to work together. In a situation like this, both the county and city can benefit from having HQ2 here, which led to the two governments working together on trying to win the bid to gain HQ2. But still, where is HQ2 going to go if we win the bid? Here are some ideas.

Option 1: North Riverfront.


Remember when the Rams taunted us and wanted us to build them a new stadium along the Riverfront? The area North of Downtown seems to be a crowd favorite as it is large enough, and in need of development, to sustain HQ2. Great Rivers Greenway and the City of St. Louis even released a “Plan B” before the Rams announced their departure for what could be this area of neglected real estate. With a plan set in place, the City could put this plan forward as our bid and allow Amazon to make any changes to the design so that it fits their needs. One thing for the City, and Amazon, to keep in mind is to make our Riverfront more inviting. If Amazon chooses us and goes with this location, they really should invest some money into our Riverfront so that it is more inviting and fun to use and not neglected.


  • Redevelopment of the Riverfront
  • Close to major Highways for easy access
  • Expands Development Northward


  • Likely to receive opposition from nearby Lumiere Place
  • Nearest Public Transit Station is quite the walk away

Option 2: Parking Lots South of Interstate 64.

Another Downtown location, this time on parking lots South of I-64 in Downtown. Amazon could connect Downtown to Purina & Chouteau if this option is presented and chosen. The site spans from the Tucker viaduct to 4th Street. Currently, the lots are eyesores and need to go. the potential that this options brings with it is a larger skyline and Downtown area with the possibility of some shops and restaurants. This option could also spur the redevelopment of Chouteau’s landing along the Riverfront which would add a whole section to Downtown.


  • Near the Busch-Stadium MetroLink Station.
  • Easy access to Interstates 64, 44, 55 and 70.
  • No buildings would have to be demolished
  • Promote redevelopment of near by areas
  • Make Downtown more dense


  • Chouteau’s Greenway would have to be reimagined or cancelled
  • Double-Deck Highway right up against site

Option 3: Pruitt-Igoe site.


As the new NGA facility site is being cleaned up just North of Cass avenue, the vast Urban Forest that was once Pruitt-Igoe is waiting Patiently for development. Amazon’s HQ2 could be the thing that develops this site once and for all. Having Amazon choose Pruitt-Igoe as their site would add to the revitalization of the Jefferson Avenue corridor and spark new construction and renovations of structures on the West side of Jefferson. The site is large enough to contain large buildings and a birds eye view of Downtown would sure give employees working in HQ2 a unique perspective on St. Louis.


  • Built near NGA
  • Contributes to Northside Redevelopment
  • Future MetroLink route will run down Jefferson
  • Near Interstate 64


  • Paul McKee owns the land

Option 4: Farm Fields near St. Charles.

Near MO-364 are many farm fields that could support HQ2 if needed. Large towers would not have to be constructed because of the vast land that could be available. However, this one is a gamble as many neighborhoods rise near these sites (which could hold opposition) and Interstate 270 is already crowded enough during rush hour, so 50,000 extra employees would swamp the highway all together. Also, the site is in a flood plain. This seems to be the least possible idea for all of the sites that could be chosen.


  • Near MO-364
  • The Suburbs
  • Vast amount of land


  • Flood Plain
  • Neighborhood opposition
  • Adding more traffic to over crowded highways
  • No Transit service
  • Away from Urban Cores


As you can see, there are at least 4 sites that can hold HQ2 if need be. However, these sites contain he possibility that they will not be chosen for St. Louis’ bid to get HQ2 here. The team that Mayor Krewson and County Executive Stenger have created will assess the options and present the bid. Then and only then do we hope we become a finalist (and the winner) of Amazon’s HQ2.

But when in despair and out of ideas, we can always be the Cardinals and want someone to build on the ballpark Village site. They tweeted out that they hope Amazon picks their three remaining lots for development. Either jokingly or not, the Towers would have to be the tallest in the City to support 50,000 employees. But that’s fine! Only Amazon wants more space to grow on if need be. Sorry Cardinals.

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  • Eddie in NorCal

    Amazon has eschewed the self-contained corporate campus, in either an urban or suburban setting. Their clear preference is a CBD, the existing Seattle “HQ” is actually 30+ buildings of various size scattered across South Lake Union, Belltown and Pike Place Market area, with a few other locations, too.

    In Amazon’s own words:

    “Several years ago we outgrew our space and we made a conscious choice to
    invest in downtown Seattle—even though it would have been cheaper to
    move to the suburbs. We now employ more than 40,000 people in Seattle
    who come from all around the world. Our employees tell us that they love
    being in the heart of the city. In fact, about 15% live in the same zip
    code as their office and about 20% walk to work. And they frequent the
    restaurants, food trucks and shops that have popped up all around South
    Lake Union, the neighborhood in Seattle we call home.”

    Doesn’t sound like a company that wants 200 acres in St. Charles, Chris.

    There was an interesting article in Slate today that put St. Louis pretty high up on the list of likely locations — I’ll be that would surprise many NextSTL readers. St. Louis scores quite favorably on airport/mass transit/university measures. StL kills on the quantity and desirability of affordable (for people making $100K+ incomes) housing and available Class A office space in the CBD.

    If St. Louis can match the best financial offers from competing cities, it has a very good chance of winning this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

  • Eric

    Harris Stowe State University site and parcels directly south. Add a MetroLink station at Compton, add true BRT down Grand and mass transit along Olive/Lindell (which has already been proposed). I assume they’re going to want a semi-contiguous parcel that would allow for an urban corporate campus. HSSU only has 1100 students on 30 acres; area to south is underutilized; “Amazon effect”/value creation could more easily spillover to other areas (vs. North Riverfront site), etc.

  • Chippewa

    I think we have a real shot as long as “civic leaders” don’t blow it on some stupid shit.

    Talk to Amazon, find out what would secure a deal for them to build a 2nd HQ here, and get it done.

    This would be truly transformational, if it happens. There isn’t a whole lot that we shouldn’t do to secure this.

  • darla

    Amazon will build in the city that gives it the most free tax money.

  • e

    I don’t know who Krewson & Stenger are putting on the team to make this pitch, but I hope it’s not just the usual Civic Progress crew. I don’t think that would resonate with Bezos et al. I would nominate Jim McKelvey (Twitter, Square, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), Ted Wight (could emphasize the key selling point of affordable real estate), Dennis Lower (President & CEO of Cortex) and either John Danforth or Mark Wrighton (Wash U).

  • Taggart Cummings

    Great opportunity, here’s hoping St Louis submits a great proposal! Seattle had clearly benefitted from the job growth, but the city did not plan effectively for the growth and traffic. Having poor public transit and a general North/south geographic layout problem, the Amazon development has gridlocked that area. Police have to guide traffic in and out of even the parking garages. Hopefully St Louis submits a location on the Metrolink line or at least on a future one.

    • Eddie in NorCal

      One AT&T + BPV + Railway Exchange are all within 1-2 blocks of Metrolink stations.

  • Eddie in NorCal

    Amazon could have created a sprawling suburban campus in Seattle — other west coast tech firms have certainly done so, despite their employees desire to live in urban areas instead of the suburbs. Hence the private shuttle buses from SF to FB, Genentech, Google, Apple, etc. campuses. I believe Amazon is committed to CBD locations for HQ2 as they did for the Seattle HQ. Everything in their history says so and a quick perusal of their website would confirm this judgement.

    As noted in a NextSTL post this morning, the soon-to-be-empty One AT&T Center is a perfect opening card to play in St. Louis’s proposal (along with massive financial subsidies). It offers 1.4 million square feet in a single tenant configuration and is move-in ready (as in, existing lease expiration) in Spring 2017. It could handle the first 5,000 employees easily (AT&T has had as many as 4,800 there.) There are many options for additional structures, both new & renovated, within a 10 block radius, including some of the aforementioned BPV sites. It will take a decade for Amazon to scale up to 50,000 employees in HQ2, they aren’t going to build or land bank that much capacity right away.

    Amazon’s presence would obviously draw other tech companies and that level of activity would quickly jump start the number of flights at Lambert. Back in the day, Lambert handled hundreds of departures daily (300 with TWA, if I recall correctly). The key advantage for St. Louis is cost of living/housing affordability along with the fact that Amazon won’t have to compete heavily for tech talent, as would be the case in SF/San Jose and Boston.

    Pruitt Igoe should be pitched to Google, as they are actually in the map business and could see the benefits of proximity to NGA. Again, massive subsidies for autonomous vehicle development & manufacture would be required.

    Go for it, St. Louis.


    A plus sign is, Amazon is committed to building yet another distribution center in Hazelwood.They already leased the property.Something is brewing St Louis.We landed IKEA, Got NGA, we can get Amazon…

  • STLEnginerd

    I think St. Louis has a shot, obviously we are a long shot and with as many cities in the competition I don’t think anyone stands much better than a 10% chance of getting it. My gut tells me Atlanta will be a strong favorite. Hub airport, top 10 city, good mass transit, etc.

    Still I think St. Louis has a solid chance against the field. Fairly strong ties to Seattle already in terms of regular daily flights. Not sure how much directs to Europe will drive the decision, we are close to getting a few I think (London and Frankfurt seem likely near term) and I think in terms of developable land adjacent to mass transit we have to be one of the most easily consolidated and developed in the US. There is nearly 100 acres of light industrial adjacent to one of our busiest metro stations which is adjacent to one of the hottest real-estate developments in the region. Also largely owned/controlled by one entity. 22nd street interchange is little less contiguous but they could build the anchor building at the terminus to the gateway mall everyone has been pining for.

    If they wanted a suburban location there are plenty some with metrolink and some without. (Chesterfield Mall comes to mind) But if you were going for snark i’d recommend the entire city of Velda City, almost exactly 100 acres and they could change its name to Bezos MO.

    In general the whole region needs to do a deep dive to determine what Amazon would find the most appealing and no matter what it is pursue it with tenacious fervor. We might have a chance.


    Have anybody remembered that The Bottle District plan is still an option across from the Dome?

    • STLEnginerd

      I think its hard to make the bottle district very appealing. It is either looking at the back side of the dome and convention center, and interstate, or a mish mashed legacy of low rent housing. Amazon could do it but they would have to really want to.

  • JZ71

    I’m usually a naysayer, when it comes to issues like this, but I see some real upsides with this one. One, there’s a huge reservoir of vacant office space in the CBD, that can be quickly repurposed to meet Amazon’s requirements. Two, even though Lambert’s current flight options are weak, the airport’s underlying infrastructure would allow a rapid build up of both domestic and international flights, given actual demand, either by current carriers or by carriers interested in chasing new business. Three, the cost of living would be a huge draw, especially compared to coastal prices. And four, while still weak, St. Louis does have some tech cred, and it’s growing, albeit slowly.

    The biggest negatives would be the obvious ones, crime and taxes, along with the inevitable, ingrained regional competition and the persistent, underlying, institutional racism. However, getting new jobs and new views would likely (slowly) start to break down these stereotypes; the trick is convincing both Amazon and local leaders that it can (and should) actually happen. As long as the decision doesn’t boil down to either where some CEO/CFO/VP wants to live or the size of the incentive package, we just need to build on the assets that we can bring to the table, quickly, and make a real commitment to addressing the negatives, real or perceived!

  • John

    I love how the naysayers come out of the woodwork instead of thinking outside of the box for the potential of Amazon in St. Louis. This city/region has been the home of many corporate headquarters over the years. While some companies may have relocated or moved due to M&A, others have remained or emerged. St. Louis has an opportunity here with Amazon and leaders are wise to pursue it.

    • Couldn’t agree more.

    • Mark Leinauer

      I’m not trying to be a naysayer. I’m trying to be realistic. St. Louis simply isn’t a realistic fit for Amazon, and the city would be better off spending its time, money and efforts on goals that match its strengths. St. Louis seems to continually run itself crazy chasing pipe dreams. It’s not healthy, for the same reason that it would be unwise for me to spend my time trying to land a spot in the NBA. It simply isn’t going to happen, and my time is limited.

      • jhoff1257

        Every city in the country is going after this. Is it a tall order, absolutely, and no St. Louis probably won’t make the cut. But when Kansas City, Nashville, Memphis, and other peer cites (even St. Clair County, Illinois) are making pitches, St. Louis better damn well be involved. And unless you’re working directly on this team and project, your time doesn’t matter.

        • Mark Leinauer

          I’m obviously referring to the city’s time. There’s no need to be belligerent. If you doubt that I’m pro-St. Louis, look at my posting history.

          • jhoff1257

            Nothing I said was belligerent and I didn’t question that your pro St. Louis. But I have read your other comments on this thread and if I’m being honest, you’re not making a good case for yourself. St. Louis absolutely has a tendency to chase those big silver bullet projects and you’re mostly right…it’s a waste of time. But to just sit idly by while every other major (and several minor) North American cities take a shot at this is just stupid. Say we sit back and watch from the sidelines and Kansas City, Nashville, or Indy end up with the new HQ. We have far more resources to land this then any of those cities do. Yes the chances are slim, as they are for those other cities I mentioned, but to do nothing would be a disservice to the region.

          • Mark Leinauer

            OK. I see your point. I think we agree on the “silver bullet syndrom” in general and yes I agree we have a much better shot than Indy or Nashville (and most likely Kansas City as well). I don’t think I’m making a “bad case” though. It’s a fair point to note that we don’t really have the airport they want and we’re not considered a top tech talent city (we are considered a top bio-tech talent city.. I’m not trashing St. Louis). Those are fair points. Honestly I’m sitting in the Bay Area right now, in Berkeley’s urban planning school, and this debate is going on right now .. with people who really know their stuff. .. and when I mentioned St. Louis (which I have about six times) those are the automatic responses I get: insufficient airport; not enough tech talent. One of these people actually works for Amazon, and will be working on this very issue. It’s hardly an unconventional view so I don’t agree that I’m making a “bad case.” The airport is a big issue (it’s one of the main reasons InBev moved so many people to New York). And when you look at the schools Amazon hires from, you’ll see Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech etc. etc. You’ll have to look long and hard before you come across a Wash U or a SLU. That’s not to say those schools are subpar, they’re not, but they’re not known for computer science.

          • Mark Leinauer

            But yes, St. Louis should be a stronger candidate than the competitors you mentioned. I don’t think they’re in the running either.

          • Mark Leinauer

            And I regret that I’ve given the impression that I’m down on St. Louis. I’m not. I’ve been on this forum since the beginning (when it was UrbanStl). I ran around with Metropolis in the 90’s. I once cornered Rollin Stanley to berate him about Metrolink. I defend/promote St. Louis on a daily basis out here on the West Coast to the point of annoying class mates. I just want St. Louis to be smart with it’s limited resources. I’d really like them to focus on development from the ground up (building up those amazing neighborhoods, mass transit, supporting local art) rather than continually chase low percentage high reward developments. I see this as a “silver bullet” given the odds as I see it. I really, really hope I’m wrong. Nothing would make me happier.

          • STLEnginerd

            You really have too look at who we are competing with though. Of the tech cities in the east (Austin, Boston and Pittsburgh) right none of them have hub airports. The airport hub cities (Dallas, DC, New York, Atlanta) aren’t particularly known for tech, they are just significantly big markets where if you put up enough money people will move there to fill the jobs. My gut tells me Atlanta is the 800lb gorrilla to beat. If it is an airport driven decision (it is unclear to me how much this is a factor although it seems everyone is assuming that will be the major driver) i feel like they edge out their respective competition by virtue of geographic location and cost of living.

            If its a hot tech city decision then I have no idea.

            If it something in between.. maybe Charlotte?

            Amazon realizes that no city currently has the tech talent capacity for what they are proposing, so in the end they will be drawing nation and world wide for talent AND that any city Amazon builds in WILL instantly become a hot tech city by virtue of Amazon.

            SOOO in short I feel like we CAN compete against a very diverse field. Not only that but i feel like we HAVE to try. By not succeeding we don’t loose face, there will only be one winner so we would be one among dozens of losers. By not submitting a proposal we would effectively be saying we are not capable of competing and I don’t feel like there is anyone out there who is an effective shoe-in.

      • Guest

        This is another big blast of hot air (lol) that seems to be popular with the all too “realistic” attitudes among too many around here…which accomplishes nothing. I was in Atlanta in 1963 and let me tell you that city didn’t hold a candle to St. Louis. What you didn’t find in Atlanta was suburbanites trashing their central city, not then (or now)…no “let’s be realistic…we’re not much now and probably never will be, so let’s just deal with what we are.” Look at it now.
        I remember when St. Louis was a world class city. It’s a crying shame it’s fallen victim to people who have lost practical and viable vision, who seem to view ignorance and stupidity as virtues and .have lost sight of what makes a city great (please don’t take that personal…that’s not my intention).
        You’re right…it isn’t going to happen…not with uninformed attitudes you’ve given. Please educate yourself and look into St. Louis’s past…up into the 60’s…the architecture alone will show you that it was a top tier city.

        What do you imagine people think when you tell them “Meh…St. Louis ain’t so great, It ain’t got this, it ain’t got that…let’s just accept that and go from there”…? That seems to be what you’re saying.
        A few are beginning to wake up. More need to be woken up. I hope you (and others that don’t realize and confront the negative memes that have developed here) realize this and look into it.

        • Mark Leinauer

          If you can’t have a civil discussion perhaps you should go elsewhere “guest.” You assume a lot about me. I would put my efforts towards St. Louis against yours any day.

  • I’m afraid Bezos would never cosider anti-education state of Moleg. Need Washu and City to convince him State of Missouri won’t clobber creation of educated tech workforce.

    I follow Tim Logan in Boston. They assume they are at the top of the list with top universities and just landed GE HQ at seaport downtown. North River could be equivalent of Boston’s seaport.

  • Mark Leinauer

    Oddly enough .. I’m in San Francisco right now with a lot of development directors. They’ve been throwing around lists of potential cities for amazon all day (with an eye towards luring them to the Bay Area). I’ve seen about twenty lists. St. Louis is not on any of them – for the reasons Jim listed. Airport. Mass Transit. Lack of Tech talent. There’s also a belief that they want to be on the East Coast.
    I’m a big St. Louis booster and it can compete in many areas. Sadly, I don’t think this is one of them.

    • Mark Leinauer

      That said .. no one seems to think San Francisco can land them either. Not enough space. Too expensive and on the West Coast

    • John

      There is tech talent in St. Louis. We have many large companies with IT divisions and data centers as well as the Cortex innovation district. St. Louis has several universities and healthcare organizations with technology assets. One advantage is the geographic location. The East is overrated, and the West is inflated. Midwest sensibilities are valuable.

  • jim

    While I applaud the region’s leadership for responding, I cannot see St. Louis competing due to a few key requirements in the RFP: 1) International airport; 2) Access to a quality mass transit system; 3) Tech talent pool. I admit that we’re probably somewhat competitive with regional tech talent, but cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, and DC have the other qualifications that we may not be able to offer. One bonus could be our lower cost of living, which could help attract talent – Amazon leadership must be keenly aware of the housing shortage many other areas that affect workers.

    • moorlander

      I’m curious which cities you believe have a low cost of living, manageable traffic congestion near the site, and 100 acres of developable land served by highways , transit, and bike lanes?

  • Mark Leinauer

    I hate to throw cold water on this discussion but I believe the odds of a St. Louis pick are virtually zero. We don’t have an airport with enough direct connections, and .. while we have a lot of life science tech, St. Louis doesn’t really have a large IT presence. Amazon needs coders etc. …

    • Mark Leinauer

      I hope I’m wrong ….

  • This might be heresay, (ducks) but the west side of Shaw Park in clayton would be next to Metro & Highway.

    Also heresay, (ducks again) but north east corner of Forrest Park where the metro cuts through isn’t widely used.

    • jhoff1257

      A city wide vote would be required to use any park land, and my guess is that STL residents would give a solid NO to building anything in Forest Park. And that northeast corner isn’t nearly big enough to fit anything remotely close to what Amazon wants to do.

    • T-Leb

      Your comment about giving public park land away is absolutely disgusting. Steve Stenger is finding out just how unpopular and morally egregious it is to attempt to give away public land. Any attempt to develop public lands will be met with fierce opposition. Urbanist blogs do a disservice to their followers when they argue that there is too much green space in a vain attempt to force density at the cost of public lands.

      • Adam

        ummm… i would say self-righteous advocates of “never too much green space” are doing a morally egregious disservice to a region in desperate need of 50,000 new jobs when they argue that little-used green space is sacred.

        • T-Leb

          As if you could persuade any rational person that a rust belt city needs to give away park land for new development. There is plenty of brownfield land. Stl has a completely empty tower downtown next to Metrolink.
          Little used? You’re either misinformed or purposefully ignorant about the values of public land and green space.
          Self righteous? Envro orgs advocate for density but are not going to give away public land. These are urbanism allies until they go rogue and want to develop in a reckless way.

          • I hear ya – just spitting out spots that might actually be valueable to AMZ… I actually don’t have the power to do anything though. ✌️ I just want more jobs/people here.

        • jhoff1257

          Come on…while I’m not as agitated as Mr. T-Leb is about this suggestion, the mere idea of building a corporate campus in Forest Park or any other city park is simply a stupid idea when you consider all the vacant non-park land at the city’s disposal. There is a lot of green space in this city (chunks of the Gateway Mall come to mind) that I’d love to see filled in, parts of Forest Park aren’t one of them.

          Besides, do we really want to risk the prospect of 50,000 jobs coming here getting tied up in a municipal vote (as the use or selling of any city parkland would require)?

  • Ted Yemm

    What about the Carter Carburetor site? Close to NGA, and fairly close to Cortex. Not great highway access, but not terrible.

    • Chris Stritzel

      Never thought about it. But Highway and Transit access are musts!

      • Ted Yemm

        Is Grand one of the corridors being studied for a north/south metro line? There are expanded bus services on Grand, and that section of Grand has fair access to 64 and 70 as well as less than fair access to 44 and, by extension, 55. If not Amazon, I think it would make a good start up hub for cyber security.

  • rgbose

    North riverfront sounds good to me. Btw Rams wanted to leave not have us build them a stadium.

    BPV plus RR-Ex and AT&T be enough?

    How about land in SLU’s bank not already commited?

    There’s a lot of space on the south riverfront too. No Metrolink of course.

    • Ben Harvey

      BPV+AT&T and the surrounding vacant lots around the ballpark should be enough area. We could also take down Mike Shannon’s and the Millennium Hotel. Maybe even take down one or both of the Keiner garages. Some shiny new glass buildings would sure look better next to the plaza than those crappy garages

      • Chris Stritzel

        I think Amazon wants to be within a few block area and not spread around Downtown.

        • STLrainbow

          Not necessarily the case… the Seattle campus is spread out through many blocks that would compare to a large chunk of our CBD. Walkable urbanity & connected to rest of city with transit, etc. is what they have in Seattle and seem to prefer with 2nd HQ.

      • tony

        My first thought was the Millennium site/BPV which could also include replacing the east garage. Who owns the garages? From there if more room is needed, move South of 40.


        Exactly those Keiner’s garages are horrible