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Amazon is coming to town...


If you’re like us, you’ll probably see A LOT of Amazon this holiday season (especially on our credit card statements). And as the company plans to expand its North American footprint, some of us should prepare to see even more of the retail behemoth. (If you haven’t heard of Amazon’s corporate expansion, dubbed #HQ2, take a look at our background summary below.)

We believe in the awesome power of business and community partnerships; however, we also believe that both parties must communicate and invest in one another for sustainable win-win relationships. A majority of states, included all three of our corporate locations, have expressed interest in having Amazon as a close neighbor. These states have all submitted responses to Amazon’s request for proposal (RFP) so we decided to take a closer look at Project #HQ2.

The questions we wanted to answer are:

1) What did Amazon ask for?

2) What did each city and state offer to give?

3) How does a municipality strike a balance without inadvertently tipping the scale too far in one direction or the other?

In the end, we found:

* Amazon’s RFP was aggressive but not unreasonable,

* some locations were much more transparent than others,

* and balance depends on the needs of your particular location.

CCG KEY TAKE AWAY:

As community stakeholders, we have the right to dialogue with our elected officials and Amazon executives. We recommend speaking with your state’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Governor’s Office (they are all on Facebook and twitter) to understand what they proposed and what safe guards they put in place. Below is a list of contact info and resources (scroll to the end) that we hope helps keep you informed and connected.

Background:

In early September 2017, Amazon announced its intention to build a second North American Headquarters, a so called #HQ2. If fully realized, Amazon could eventually invest up to $5 billion in capital, and employ up to 50,000 workers over a 15-year period. Amazon also announced that cities and states would compete with one another in a bidding process to be considered for HQ2.

Cities and states were required to submit bids by October 19, 2017 and the responses range from silly to quite serious, including:

* Tucson, Arizona delivered a 21ft cactus to Amazon HQ1 in Seattle

* Stonecrest, Georgia offered to rename itself Amazon, Georgia

* Newark and the State of New Jersey are collectively offering $7 billion in incentives

* Chicago, Illinois is willing to let Amazon Corporate keep $1 billion in income taxes paid by employees

* Fresno, California will allow Amazon can tell the city how to use the tax money

In total, Amazon claims that they received over 200 bids from cities and states across Canada, Mexico and the United States. Some cities, such as Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, provided a high degree transparency and even posted their bids on public websites. Other municipalities flatly refused to provide details of their bids.

What did Amazon ask for?

Amazon.com/amazonHQ2

Actual Amazon RFP (request for proposal)

How did cities respond?

List of City RFP responses (Special thanks to MuckRock and Adanya Lustig)

Boston RFP Response Link

SF RFP Response Link

Newark and New Jersey Press Conference

What are others saying?

Twitter and Facebook search #HQ2

Google Trends on HQ2

Relevant News Articles

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/technology/amazon-second-headquarters/?iid=EL

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/11/technology/amazon-cities/index.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2017/09/07/toronto-fighting-to-land-amazons-new-headquarters.html

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/this-city-hall-brought-to-you-by-amazon/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article_title_1.1

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicagos-amazon-hq2-bid-money-for-nothing-tifs-for-free/Content?oid=33535992

http://beta.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-amazon-fresno-20171025-story.html

Contact your Economic Development Association and Governor’s Office

All EDA sites

https://www.eda.gov/resources/

All Governors