A few days after Amazon surprised many by announcing its search for a location to build its second North American headquarters for $5 billion, cities are scrambling to pitch their strengths.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is said to have already spoken to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO regarding the announcement. This is according to a report by Chicago Business. Amazon’s Chicago office employs 200 people and the company is building eight warehouses in Illinois.
North of the border, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that his city is a major candidate in the race to host Amazon’s second home. In a statement to CBC News, he added that he will lead city staff in putting together an attractive bid that will reflect a city with bold and innovative technology talent.
Toronto is known to have flexible immigration policies that favor business and has grown to become an important tech hub.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto tweeted “on it,” and a link to the announcement by Amazon.
In a tweet, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said the city will assemble a team right away to make a very competitive proposal for Amazon.
Another tweet from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, said that his city would be a PRIME location for Amazon that would make people smile.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry wasn’t left out, tweeting that they are excited about the announcement and will work with teams to identify potential Nashville locations.
Hartford mayor Luke Bronin, encouraged his city to work together and define Hartford as a metro area of 1million people to woo Amazon.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said that the field will be competitive, but he will do whatever it takes to keep up Tulsa’s history of being aggressive and land Amazon.
Amazon’s new second headquarters will cover 500,000 square feet in its first phase, then rise to 8 million square feet and bring 50,000 top-paying jobs to the winning city.
The ideal site that Amazon is seeking should be 45 minutes from a major airport, near several major roads with immediate access to mass transit, less than 30 miles from a major population center and a metro area with a population above 1 million, with urban and suburban locations that can attract top talent. Its request for proposals (RFP) also seeks a location that is business-friendly and thinks big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.
In the RFP which closes October 17, the online retail giant is seeking incentives like workforce and relocation grants, tax credits and many more.
Cities that throw their hats into the ring will have to bring as many goodies as possible into the package they put together for them to attract such a behemoth to town.
The incentives that cities give to big companies may not necessarily bring enough benefits from the jobs created, according to Margaret O’Mara, Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington. She added that the excitement shouldn’t cloud prudence on the concessions offered because such big companies take advantage of the system to secure trade-offs.