Amazon got a bid to build its $5 billion headquarters on the US-Mexico border — here’s what it would look like

Business Insider
Oct. 26, 2017

This month, Amazon received 238 bids from cities and regions that want to build its $5 billion headquarters, dubbed HQ2. In September, the e-commerce giant announced that it will pick a North American city that suits its requirements, including an international airport, a “business-friendly” environment, and at least 1 million residents.

Among those 238 bids is a creative one from New Mexico. Two economic development groups, working with the state’s government, is proposing Amazon build its headquarters not in one city — but in three on the United States-Mexico border.

The bid calls for a bi-national campus that would span areas of Juarez, Mexico; El Paso, Texas; and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Called HQ2Countries, it’s a joint proposal from the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance and the Border Industrial Association, nonprofits based in New Mexico.

“We believe we have submitted to Amazon, not only a unique and bold proposal, but one that simultaneously meets the needs of the population, talent attraction, infrastructure, and quality of life requirements of the RFP,” Davin Lopez, CEO of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, told Business Insider.

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A rendering of HQ2Countries’ solar and wind farm.The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance/The Border Industrial Association

Though Lopez said that Amazon would design the headquarters to its needs, HQ2Countries imagines a campus that would feature an urban plan with seven hexagon-shaped areas. There would be office buildings, housing, retail, and small parks.

The campus would also include a large solar and wind farm, which would provide the majority of its energy needs. Here’s an aerial-view rendering of the proposed design, with the US-Mexico border cutting through the center:

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A rendering of HQ2Countries.The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance/The Border Industrial Association

Each hexagon district would have a public plaza in its center, which would feature a station manned by the US Border Patrol. Lopez added that the campus would be “secure,” and it would manage the flow of people over the border. Details on how this would work in reality are still be worked out, he said.

Their proposal comes at perhaps the least opportune time for the two groups. This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveiled prototypes of a border wall that US President Donald Trump says will be built by the time he leaves office.

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A rendering of HQ2Countries’ “port of entry.”The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance/The Border Industrial Association

“We hope this illustrates other solutions to deal with our border relationships,” Lopez said. “Instead, we are proposing this concept will help build a dynamic border economy, which is really the answer that [Washington] DC should be looking at.”

He also points to Section 559 of the 2014 DHS Appropriations Act, which allows certain private companies to partner with the US Customs and Border Protection agency and develop projects on the US-Mexico border.

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A rendering of HQ2Countries.The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance/The Border Industrial Association

The bi-national campus could boost both the US and Mexico economies, since Amazon’s 50,000 new jobs would go to Americans and Mexicans, Jerry Pacheco, President of the Border Industrial Association, told BI. He said it also makes sense for Amazon, which he calls a “multi-national company.”

Amazon plans to make its decision in 2018.

HQ2Countries “offers the trend-setting Amazon the ability to harness the best of both the US and Mexico as the company evolves and innovates,” Pacheco said. “We are anxiously awaiting Amazon’s feedback.”