‘Give Them the Runway’ — What Will St. Louis Offer Amazon at the Airport?

Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Amazon is now taking aim at FedEx and UPS, judging by today’s headlines about Amazon testing its own delivery service.

That may give transportation logistics a new weight as cities make their bid’s for Amazon’s second headquarters, which the country’s largest retailer says will be a full equal to its original headquarters in Seattle.

Metro areas with more than a million people across North America are competing for up to 50,000 jobs and billions of investment.

slp2015041501 Give Them the Runway    What Will St. Louis Offer Amazon at the Airport?

A ramp worker directs the new Southwest Airlines “Missouri One” Boeing 737-700, as it taxi’s at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis on April 15, 2015. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Lambert Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge gave a short “No” when asked by a KMOX reporter if she could talk, even in vague terms, about what airport facilities may be part of the St. Louis offer.

“We can’t speak to the RFP,” she replied.

But KMOX News has learned both airports — St. Louis-Lambert International and Mid-America in Illinois — will figure into the sales pitch.

Lambert has empty space on its concourses that will be offered to Amazon for its uses, which could include post-security office space. There could also be some sort of public-facing center.

For instance, all of concourse B is currently an event space.

What about the suggestion by LockerDome founder Gabe Lozano to just gift Amazon the “new” runway at Lambert Airport?

Hamm-Niebruegge was able to touch on that briefly: “We received federal funding for that, so it’s not a runway to give away.”

BIDDING WAR?

Amazon is also requesting to know from each prospective city what kind of incentives they’d offer for the headquarters. There’s been speculation that Amazon hoped to spark a ‘bidding war’ with this continental competition.

KMOX asked St. Louis Development Corporation director Otis Williams about the incentives available to Amazon.

img 6616 Give Them the Runway    What Will St. Louis Offer Amazon at the Airport?

The vacant former AT&T skyscraper in downtown St. Louis. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

“We’ll be looking at something very similar to what we used for (the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), so we’ll look potentially at some use of the earnings tax or some kind of a TIF (tax increment financing).”

Part of the package for NGA was free land. Williams said it’s too early to determine if land  — or a building — could be similarly given to Amazon.

Amazon’s request for proposals notes that “a project of this magnitude may require special incentive legislation in order for the state/province to achieve a competitive incentive proposal.”

There’ll be no special legislative session in Missouri, but the state does intend to put together a package that could apply to either St. Louis or Kansas City.

More from Michael Calhoun
Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS St. Louis

Shop KMOX Apparel
KMOX Podcasts
High School Spotlight

Listen Live