NEW YORK (KMOX/AP) – Amazon, which is on the hunt for a second headquarters, said Thursday that it narrowed its choices to 20 locations from the 238 proposals it received.
Unfortunately, St. Louis didn’t make the cut despite offering more than $5 billion in incentives to the company.
Here’s who did:
Sheila Sweeney, President and CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which spearheaded the sales pitch, told KMOX’s Charlie Brennan Show that she hopes Amazon will provide some feedback.
“We used our assets like our airports, the MetroLink between the airports, and the iconic site of having a headquarters on two sides of the greatest river in North America,” she said, but it apparently wasn’t for them.
The Partnership had resisted releasing the actual bid itself, citing state law allowing business negotiations to be kept confidential. Now that St. Louis is out of the running, KMOX News was given access to the document.
It draws a picture of buildings on both sides of the Mississippi River along with a re-imagining of the now-vacated AT&T tower at 909 Chestnut. There’s also a welcome and conference center — including hotel — built a-top the MetroLink station at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.
It also lists alternative sites from O’Fallon, IL to O’Fallon, MO.
Incentives from the state of Missouri total $3.82 billion and from Illinois total $1.627 billion for a grand total of $5.44 billion offered to the e-commerce and cloud hosting giant.
The package also says more incentives may be possible. It includes a letter from Missouri Senate President Pro-Tem Ron Richard and House Speaker Todd Richardson. They say lawmakers would be willing to pass “comprehensive legislation” to meet Amazon’s wishes.
“I think Jeff City did what they thought was necessary for the proposal,” Sweeney said. “Maybe in the coming weeks we’ll all say we could’ve done more, but right now, everyone put forth what they could.”
“It was big and it was aggressive but it was intended to be transformational to this region,” Sweeney said.
HEAD EAST, BEZOS?
The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a place to build a second headquarters in September, sparking a fierce competition among cities across North America looking to lure Amazon and its promise of 50,000 new jobs and construction spending of more than $5 billion. The company plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the second home base will be “a full equal” to it, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had said.
The finalists are concentrated along the East Coast and in the Midwest.
The potential locations include Boston, Chicago, New York and Columbus, Ohio. Los Angeles was the only West Coast city on the list. Both Texas and Pennsylvania had two cities that made the cut: Austin, Dallas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the South, Miami and Atlanta are being considered. And Toronto was the only city outside the U.S.
Amazon had stipulated in September that it was seeking to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade. But Amazon also made clear in that it wanted tax breaks, grants and any other incentives.
The 312-page St. Louis bid answers Amazon’s requests in great details, offering maps, charts, graphs and other outlines of the region’s major employers, university graduates, current workforce occupations, crime statistics, fiber connectivity and even cell phone coverage maps.
Executives of most of the region’s major corporations signed testimonials.
Actor Jon Hamm’s voice is heard on the introductory video.
The extra space in whichever city will help the rapidly-growing Amazon, which It had nearly 542,000 employees at the end of September, a 77 percent jump from the year before. Some of that growth came from its nearly $14 billion acquisition last year of natural foods grocer Whole Foods and its 89,000 employees.
Amazon.com Inc. said it will make a final selection sometime this year.
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