Ever since Amazon announced on September 7th that it would be accepting proposals in a search for the right city to house its second headquarters, American cities have been throwing themselves at the company like maidens at the prince’s ball – insisting that the glass slipper fits.
Amazon’s press release indicated that it is seeking a second headquarters (referred to as HQ2) in North America and it will need 8.1 million square feet of office space to accommodate 40,000 new employees. The company also expressed a preference for a city with more than one million people that has a “stable and business-friendly environment” and the “potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.” Of course, New York City more than fits the bill. But there’s a lot of competition.
According to Business Insider, officials from more than 50 cities have said that they plan to submit proposals, which are due on October 19th. These cities range from metropolises like Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles and Dallas to smaller cities like Denver, Pittsburgh and Phoenix, some of which have less than the preferred one million people.
Despite the competition, New York City’s bold ambition has been released in full force. So much, so that boroughs and neighborhoods are competing against each other for where in NYC Amazon should locate HQ2 – even before the city has been chosen.
According to the New York Post, more than 20 elected Bronx officials signed a letter that was written directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In the letter, the officials argued why the Bronx would be the best site for the new company headquarters.
“The Bronx offers more advantages to Amazon than any other municipality,” the letter read. “We are six miles from LaGuardia Airport, 20 minutes from Kennedy Airport, and Manhattan is just a quick train ride away.”
Meanwhile, according to Crain’s, major owners of Brooklyn commercial properties have come together in an effort to convince Amazon that it should make Brooklyn its second home. These include Rudin Management, Forest City, Rubenstein Partners and the owners of Industry City, a sprawling and innovative office park/campus in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn’s innovation coast from Williamsburg to Sunset Park has numerous opportunities for a campus-like environment with an ecosystem of academic institutions, a skilled labor force, bedroom communities and culture,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City.
(Staten Island Borough President standing inside new Amazon facility on Staten Island. Photo from SILive.com video.)
Even if New York City doesn’t score Amazon’s HQ2, the e-commerce behemoth has already showered some of its gold on the big apple. On September 6th, Amazon announced that it will open a new fulfillment (shipping and storage) center on Staten Island, which will create 2,250 full-time jobs.
“This project will be the biggest single job creator in our borough’s history,” said Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo.
The facility will occupy 855,000 square feet in a new space developed by Matrix Development Group on the west shore of Staten Island. Amazon said that the space, which should be ready by next year, will be a state-of-the-art facility that will also utilize robots to help fill orders. The location is ideal because it’s in the center of a high population area and is close to three airports – Newark, LaGuardia and JFK.
In addition to the fulfillment center on Staten Island, Amazon also signed a 15-year lease for two full floors at a building in the Hudson Yards area in Manhattan, according to Curbed. This building is to serve as the main location for Amazon’s advertising in NYC and is expected to create 2,000 new jobs. Amazon will spend $55 million to make the space their own and these offices are expected to open at some point next year.
All kinds of constituents in NYC will continue to court Amazon to make this city Amazon east. But even if this doesn’t happen, NYC has already been shown some love from the e-commerce giant.