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Deadline day for Amazon HQ2

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Print this page By Paula C. Squires
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On a day when other states were touting the strength and uniqueness of their proposals to win Amazon’s second massive headquarters, Virginia continued to play its cards close to the vest.

Thursday, Oct. 19, was the deadline for cities in the U.S. and Canada to respond to Amazon’s request for proposals for a new North American headquarters that would bring a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs.  Ever since Amazon announced a call for bids on Sept. 7, cities have been pulling out their creative stops and developing economic incentives to win the tech giant’s attention.

Virginia’s chief business recruitment agency, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), said it worked closely with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Commerce and Trade Secretary Todd Haymore, General Assembly leaders and economic development partners at the local, regional, and state levels “to prepare multiple robust proposals for Virginia in response to Amazon’s HQ2 RFP [request for proposals.]” But the agency remained mum on exactly how many sites were submitted or what goodies Virginia threw in to court the world’s largest online retailer.

"VEDP submitted three comprehensive regional proposals — one each for Greater Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, and we also supported individual proposals from a few localities. This effort represented an unprecedented level of local and regional collaboration, as well as strong support from the administration and leaders in the Virginia General Assembly. We look forward to continuing these special partnerships as the process proceeds. For competitive reasons and to protect confidential company information, we cannot provide further details at this time,” Stephen Moret, VEDP’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Other localities weren’t shy about broadcasting their offers. According to various news accounts, here are some of the ways cities are trying to stand out from the crowd in efforts to win Amazon’s second, 8 million-square-foot headquarters.

Stonecrest, Ga.
The Stonecrest City Council in Georgia voted earlier this week to rename the city Amazon.  If selected, it plans to de-annex 345 acres of its land and to call the new area the city of Amazon. Stonecrest, which has a population of 53,000, is about 20 miles from Atlanta. 

Tuscon, Ariz.
One of Southern Arizona’s economic development groups sent a 21-foot Saguaro cactus to Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. The idea behind the gesture from Sun Corridor Inc. was to send Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a message: Arizona has plenty of room for Amazon to grow.

Research Triangle, N.C.
Ryan Combs, executive director of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, posed for a photo on Thursday to show off the group’s 32-pound proposal for Amazon HQ2. While he didn’t reveal the details,  he said the proposal included seven sites from the Raleigh-Durham region.

Washington, D.C.

The city has created a website to tout four locations it says matches Amazon's requirements for an accessible site with urban amenities. They are: the Anacostia Riverfront, NoMa Union Station, Capitol Hill East and Shaw-Howard University. 

Earlier this month Moody's Analytics,  a financial services company, said it ranked the top cities vying for Amazon based on the criteria listed in Amazon's RFP.  Based on such site-specific conditions including a pro-business environment, access to high-tech talent and transportation and cost of living and quality of life, it selected Austin, Texas, as the winner.

Adam Sedo, an Amazon spokesman, told several news organizations, “We’re energized by the response. We invited cities to think big, and we are starting to see their creativity.”

Amazon plans to make a decision on the second headquarters next year.

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