Competition Ramps Up to Host Amazon’s New Headquarters

Amazon, which invited U.S. cities to submit a proposal to become the company’s second headquarters, reports it has received responses from 238 cities and regions, representing 54 states, provinces, districts and territories. The project is expected to cost $5 billion over almost 20 years. New York, Boston, Atlanta, Nashville and Austin have said they submitted proposals, as did hurricane-battered Puerto Rico and several locations in Mexico and Canada. Reportedly, only seven U.S. states did not enter the contest.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon said it will decide on the location next year, after considering “factors such as the availability of software developers and other tech talent, good transportation options, cultural fit — recreational opportunities are a metric — and the ability to move into a phase-one site as early as 2019.”

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Amazon also said it would like “a metro area of more than one million people and tax incentives such as breaks, abatements, credits and rebates.” “Few companies have the swagger, the wherewithal to do a high profile site selection like this,” said The Boyd Co. principal/site selection expert John Boyd, who called this “a very special, special case.”

Among those that applied, Massachusetts submitted a proposal separate from Boston’s, stressing the state’s 125 colleges and universities and Amazon’s existing operations there, “which include warehouses and an office where it focuses on robotics.” New York City proposed Midtown West, Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and lower Manhattan. Washington, D.C. suggested four sites, and highlighted its “No. 1 ranking as restaurant city in Bon Appétit, as well as its 2014 ‘Coolest City’ title from Forbes.”

Other cities pulled publicity stunts, such as Gary, Indiana taking out “an amusing ad in The New York Times,” and southern Arizona sending chief executive Jeff Bezos a 21-foot cactus (which Amazon turned down and donated). Outside the U.S., Canada’s cities sent nearly a dozen proposals, and Mexican states Chihuahua, Hidalgo and Querétaro also joined in.