Cities Spurned By Amazon for HQ2 Renew Courtship After Winning New York Has Second Thoughts
As Amazon faces political obstacles in building a huge office in New York City, cities that were once candidates for the campus are courting the tech giant once again.
Cities including Miami, Chicago, and Newark, NJ have all recently talked to Amazon, brushing off their earlier rejections in hopes of landing thousands of jobs. Then Denver and Dallas said they never stopped speaking with Amazon.
Since announcing plans to build a new “second headquarters” in New York City three months ago, Amazon has encountered intense blowback. New York politicians are balking at a plan to hand over huge financial incentives to one of the biggest companies in the world while local residents complain about the impact of thousands of new workers on an already expensive and crowded neighborhood.
The opposition has Amazon second-guessing its move into the city, according to media reports, opening the door to former candidates to dust off their old proposals.
Last year, Amazon last year received 238 bids for the new headquarters, which originally was planned for one city. Candidate cities made big offers—like Maryland’s $8.5 billion incentive package—in hopes of landing the giant.
After going through the proposals, Amazon released a list of 20 finalists, which included Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Columbus, OH—though very few of these cities publicly disclosed the incentives attached to their bids.
Ultimately, Amazon decided to change course and name two winning cities, but with only 25,000 job each. In addition to New York City, the company chose Crystal City, VA.
And while many losing cities were disappointed about being passed over, a few now are taking advantage of the tension in New York for a second chance with Amazon.
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, who previously helped pitch Chicago, immediately jumped on the phone with Amazon.
“Governor Pritzker reached out to Amazon to make a full-throated pitch to attract these good-paying jobs to Illinois and assure them that they would have a strong partner in the governor’s office,” Jordan Abudayyeh, spokeswoman for the governor’s office, told Fortune in a statement.
Meanwhile, Newark, NJ contacted Amazon to let the company know the city and state still have incentive packages, approved before the city was rejected, waiting for Amazon. Officials hope the news will show Amazon that it can move in without any risk of second guessing.
Miami-Dade’s mayor Carlos Giménez told the Miami Herald that he’s ready to restart talks about bringing the Amazon to Miami or other South Florida sites that were included in an earlier joint bid. The mayor of Magic City, Fla., said he planned to reach out to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to pitch him directly, according to the Herald.
A representative of the Dallas Regional Chamber said during a panel that that organization “never hung up the phone with Amazon,” according to media reports. The chamber declined to comment on whether Dallas planned to approach the company directly.
But Dallas mayoral candidate Jason Villalba was vocal about the matter on Twitter, saying, “Dallas can win this bid!” Undoubtedly, he also was using the issue as a way to highlight his experience in economic development to voters.
Similarly, The Dallas Morning News took the opportunity to write an op-ed titled, “Dear Amazon, New York doesn’t want you; Dallas does.” Mind you, the Morning News’ former headquarters is one of the potential sites for Amazon’s headquarters that Dallas listed in its proposal—a financial consideration that the News failed to mention.