Cities woo Amazon for HQ2 after New York City cancellation

by Ike Obudulu Posted on February 21st, 2019

Following Amazon’s decision to cancel plans for a second headquarters in New York City, other cities are making public attempts to get a slice of the tech giant pie.

Last week, Amazon said it will no longer pursue its HQ2 in New York amid local political opposition. The move came after reports that Amazon was re-evaluating its decision last year to put one of its two new headquarters in Long Island City in Queens.

The huge online retailer said in a statement that it did “not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” But that hasn’t stopped cities and states from giving an old college try when it comes to courting Amazon.

Below is a list of some of the areas that have reached out to Amazon regarding a relocation of its second headquarters.

Newark, New Jersey

As one of the 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2, Newark has received a lot of attention following Amazon’s cancellation plans. Both Newark and New Jersey officials have issued statements regarding potential investment from the tech giant.

“After learning of the decision to pull out of their chosen HQ2 location, I contacted Amazon and city of Newark stakeholders directly, continuing a constant dialogue that predates my time as governor,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “New Jersey is open for business, and now more than ever, Newark is the clear choice as the next presence for Amazon corporate offices. Amazon now has the opportunity to join in Newark’s story of a city on the rise.”

With the headquarters for Audible, an Amazon company, in Newark, some have argued that the city would make a good location for Amazon to establish a hub. Mayor Ras Baraka said that his community “has been, and will continue to be, engaged” with Amazon.

“Given the city and state’s assets – a strong talent pipeline, a diverse tech base, unmatched infrastructure and a highly accessible location – we are well poised to accommodate Amazon should they want to relocate New York City’s portion of HQ2, in whole or part,” Baraka told NorthJersey.com.

Bakara’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Miami

Like Newark, Miami was a finalist in Amazon’s HQ2 extravaganza. Mayor Carlos Gimenez used the news of the company’s decision to pull out of New York City as an opportunity to re-pitch South Florida as a viable headquarter destination.

“I understand that Amazon has decided not to pursue an additional headquarters at this time,” Gimenez wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “However, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to reopen the lines of communication because Miami, without a doubt, has the talent, technology and low taxes to serve Amazon’s needs.”

Gimenez also invited Bezos and Amazon to come back down to Miami “to discuss how Amazon and Miami can continue to grow together,” he wrote in the letter.

Gimenez’s office declined to make an additional comment beyond the letter.

Chicago

Another one of Amazon’s HQ2 finalists, Chicago also has tried to court the tech behemoth.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker jumped at the chance to try to persuade Amazon, writing a letter to the company on why it should reconsider Chicago.

“You should take another look at Chicago,” the letter obtained by the Chicago Tribune said. “We will be happy to bring you back.”

Emmanuel’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Warren, Michigan

Warren, Michigan was not a finalist for Amazon’s HQ2 search process – but that didn’t stop Mayor Jim Fouts from reaching out to the tech giant.

After watching the news of Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York City, Fouts had “off-the-cuff inspiration” to write the company a letter.

“If you’re going to move out of New York City, and that means they can go anywhere … I said, ‘why not Warren?'” Fouts told reporters. “So I got on my Facebook and wrote down why I thought Warren would be good.”

Fouts tried to persuade Amazon with several of Warren’s attributes, such as a population of highly skilled workers who have been laid off by General Motors, or attracting the Cadillac world headquarters.

“Amazon, please consider dynamic Warren as your headquarters!” Fouts wrote. “You will not be disappointed!”

Jim Fouts: “Amazon is canceling New York City as a destination, so why not Warren? We already have the world headquarters of Cadillac leaving New York City for Warren. So, why not another world headquarters move to Warren? We have the best fund balance in the area! We are number one in Industrial Assessment in the metro area. We also have the best Fire Dept and Police Dept in the state. Our Fire Dept won the American Heart Association gold award for being the best fire department in the state. We have a highly-skilled laid off work force formerly from the GM Global Tech Center ready to work for Amazon. We also have 100% LED lights on all of our roads. We have a major roads project second to none. We have top notch sanitation vehicles and brand news bins. We are building two new downtown areas. We will soon have two new libraries. We have I 696 expressway with easy access to our other two major expressways ( I 94 and I 75 ). Those expressways give us easy access to Downtown Detroit and Metro Airport. We have 26 neighborhood parks. We have an administration that focuses on a clean and safe city. We have affordable housing and friendly safe and clean neighborhoods. We have a business friendly administration. Recently, we had a corporation in Rochester Hills that chose to move its headquarters to Warren rather than New York City. For all practical purposes we have the GM Tech Center which I consider the defacto world headquarters and the largest research and development facility in the U.S. and maybe the world. It employs 25,000 highly skilled professional employees. Lastly, our metro area has more than enough highly skilled workers to fill the new 25,000 jobs that Amazon will offer. Amazon, please consider dynamic Warren as your headquarters! You will not be disappointed!”

West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach had originally submitted a joint bid for Amazon’s HQ2 with Miami and Broward County. Outside of appealing to Amazon, West Palm Beach has been conducting a campaign in the northeast to attract businesses to the area, according to Mayor Jeri Muoio.

Muoio said that she wrote a letter to Bezos to “remind him that we’re here, and we have a lot of great things to offer,” she said.

“Recently dubbed ‘The Wall Street of the South’ by Newsweek, West Palm Beach has been quietly attracting businesses from New York City and the Northeast over the last few years,” the letter reads.

Muoio said she wrote the letter to “tell people that West Palm Beach is a great place to do business.”

Localities in New York

Despite New York City losing Amazon, other parts of the state have reached out to the tech giant.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day wrote a joint letter along with the Town of Haverstraw, the Town of Orangetown, the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Suffern to Bezos to express interest.

“We are confident that we can offer all that is needed by Amazon; including airports in adjoining counties, a business-friendly environment and a multitude of transportation and infrastructure options,” the letter reads. “We previously applied as part of your HQ2 selection process and feel we offer a ‘Prime’ location near New York City but with room for development.

Though Day is aware that Amazon has stated it will not be selecting a new location for HQ2, “we have also seen just how quickly plans can change,” John Lyon, Day’s spokesperson, told reporters.

Rochester, New York, also plans to try to impress Amazon. In 2017, Rochester submitted a joint application with Buffalo to become the destination for Amazon’s HQ2.

“We are going to try our best to make a second pitch,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren told reporters.

Warren’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Author

Ike Obudulu

Ike Obudulu

Versatile Certified Fraud Examiner, Chartered Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor with an MBA in Finance And Investments who has both worked for and consulted with some of the world's largest companies on main street and wall street in over 20 countries, Ike brings his extensive reporting and investigations experience to bear on his role as Chief Editor.
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