(USA TODAY) -- Seattle-based online retailer Amazon.com announced Thursday that it is seeking a second North American headquarters with up to 50,000 jobs.

In a statement, the company founded and run by billionaire Jeff Bezos said its "HQ2" would cost about $5 billion to build and operate.

The company, which is currently soliciting bids for the project, said it would prioritize metropolitan areas with more than one million people and that it was encouraging interested communities to think "big" and "creatively" about possible locations.

Amazon said HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon — not a satellite office. It said it expects to hire new teams and executives in HQ2, and will also let existing senior leaders across the company decide whether to locate their teams.

Employees currently working in HQ1 can choose to continue working there, or they could have an opportunity to move if they would prefer to be located in HQ2, it said.

"We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters," Bezos said.

"Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home."

Amazon estimated that its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy.

Lately, Amazon has not been shy about investing beyond its Seattle hub. On Wednesday, the e-retailer announced plans to establish Amazon "experiences" next month inside ten Kohl's locations in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Back in June, the e-retailer spent $13.7 billion to acquire Whole Foods, which has 450 stores across the U.S. and will begin setting up Amazon Lockers in some locations where customers can pick up online orders.

Expanding on its brick-and-mortar presence, Amazon has eight bookstores across the U.S., with the most recent openings in New York, Lynnfield, Mass., and Paramus, N.J., and New York with five more expected to open soon.

In January, Amazon pledged to add 100,000 new full-time U.S. jobs by mid-2018, many of them at fulfillment centers, including ones being built in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. Last month, Amazon held job fairs at 10 U.S. sites to fill more than 50,000 jobs.

This new second headquarters will likely be well situated within Amazon's increasingly sophisticated logistics and delivery system, which uses its own growing fleet of cargo planes along with its fulfillment centers.