Economy

State puts finishing touches on Amazon bid

State puts finishing touches on Amazon bid”

"We are not going to change the name of a city to 'Amazon.' That's not the way we do things".

As cities across the country beg and clamor to become the second headquarters location for Amazon, civic leaders in many places - including Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and Nashville - are calling for a more critical eye. The company said it would spend between $300 million and $600 million in the near term and up to $5 billion, employing 50,000 people, eventually, on the new site. It even anticipates some cities may have to create "special incentive legislation in order for the state/province to achieve a competitive incentive proposal", it writes in its request for proposals.

Several big cities such as Denver and Atlanta are seen as front runners. And various publications have analyzed cities' chances of landing this deal. Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle, where it is now headquartered, from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy. "The mayor of one city, and forgive me".

There's also plenty of videos of mayors asking Amazon's voice recognition personal assistant Alexa where the company should locate. Guess what the answer is?

On the wanted list of this $135 billion company: a metro area of a million or more people, access to mass transit and proximity to an global airport.

But, the reality is there's probably no North American metro area that has everything Amazon's looking for - especially a ready-to-go workforce of 50,000 professionals.

The city does not have light rail mass transit, but it has a bus system with dedicated lanes. "We've got a lot of diverse sites, not just here in DeKalb".

Kristopher Larson with the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority acknowledges the city is a longshot but hopes the quality of life here will grab the attention of a certain Amazon CEO.

Economic development officials are putting the final touches on Minnesota's pitch to secure a new Amazon.com headquarters, just days before the Seattle-based online retailer's deadline for proposals. She says this is a learning experience. We built these cities, and we want to make sure they remain ours.

The company's record in Seattle has cities looking to boost their local economies buckling at the knees. "It's always an unfair, unlevel playing field when government is picking winners and losers and saying 'we're going to give you guys a tax break and not you". So, Klohs says Grand Rapids can't lose by trying to win over Amazon.

"We love jobs, we love technology, and we love convenience", the letter says, "but what you're looking for will impact every part of our cities". "We owe [it to] our community ... that we put our best foot forward".



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