When online retailer Amazon announced it was looking for a new office location, US states got ready for battle.
The competition to be the new hometown for the so-called HQ2 began in September and came to a close last week. States and cities were given the opportunity to pitch their proposals for the new office, which would bring 50,000 jobs to the winning area.
Timeline for Amazon
These are the basic criteria the Jeff Bezos-lead company is looking for:
- A metro area with more than 1m people;
- Quality transit options – including direct flights to Washington DC, and
- Incentives from local governments, like tax credits and fee reductions
The winning city or state also needs to have space for the new facility, which will eventually occupy 8m sq feet of office space.
Here are some of the things cities and states are trying to carry out to woo Amazon for HQ2.
1. Calgary, Canada
Calgary has gone full-blown guerrilla marketing to whisk Amazon to Canada. From adverts in the Seattle Times and on the sidewalks, the city’s mayor is also using Canada’s universal health care as a way to woo the company.
The mayor, Naheed Nenshi, said:
If your future is global, then your future is Canada. And once you look at Canadian cities, as you’ve heard, Calgary wins on all of the criteria. So we are very, very excited about this.
Calgary also offered to fight a bear for Amazon, because hey, why not.
2. Newark, New Jersey
What’s a good way to get a company to choose you as its new home? Offer it $7bn in tax breaks as incentives like Newark, New Jersey is trying to do.
The new project would be an opportunity for the state’s largest city to shine after it has struggled as a result of crime and poverty. As well, it is only 16km west of Manhattan, but undoubtedly a whole lot cheaper.
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3. New York City, New York
New York lit itself up in the so-called Amazon Orange hue in order to attract the attention of Jeff Bezos.
The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio said the company should choose New York because:
We are the global capital of commerce, culture, and innovation. No city has stronger talent, greater diversity or a more dynamic economy. We welcome today’s show of support from institutions, businesses and civic leaders united behind the city’s bid.
Considering Amazon’s other main HQ is over in Seattle, on the West Coast, having a major East Coast presence could work well for the business.
4. Stonecrest, Georgia
This may not be the first place you think of when you think big metropolitan place in the US. However, the city of Stonecrest, in Georgia, has been trying to woo Amazon to choose it as its next home by changing its name to “city of Amazon”.
However, it will be competing with another city in the state, the well-known Atlanta, to vie for Amazon’s attention. And whilst an Amazon city sounds cute, Stonecrest also doesn’t have the 1m residential population that the company is looking for. Better luck next time.
5. Ceiba, Puerto Rico
The US territory is still in a pretty rough state after it was hit by Hurricane Maria in September. However, that hasn’t stopped it pitching to Amazon to build its new facility in the island’s municipality of Ceiba.
A new Amazon HQ, with the feted 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in investment, would be an amazing thing for Puerto Rico. However, considering its infrastructure issues at the moment, it would be a huge bet for Amazon to take it, making the deal probably unlikely.
When will the Amazon HQ2 bid be accepted?
Now applications are closed, Amazon will take the rest of the year to review them. It’s likely that a decision will be announced in 2018, with initial construction to take place in 2019.
However, Amazon may completely abandon, as its pitch said it may “select no proposals and enter into no agreement.” There will be a lot of disappointed cities and mayors come 2018.