The wildly completely different, typically bizarre methods cities bid on Amazon’s second headquarters — Quartz

Amazon’s request for proposal for HQ2, its second North American headquarters, left quite a bit to the creativeness.

The firm set some fundamental preferences—a metro space with greater than 1 million individuals, 45 minutes from a world airport, a “business-friendly” setting—however it didn’t rule anybody out. By Oct. 19, the deadline for submissions, the corporate had acquired 238 bids to host its new headquarters. Amazon is at present evaluating the proposals, and has mentioned it would decide someday subsequent yr.

Quartz combed by means of media experiences and contacted native and regional officers round North America to verify as lots of these bids as doable. We discovered practically 200, with candidates starting from main metropolitan areas to 3 businesswomen in Anchorage, Alaska.


Our record gives an attention-grabbing have a look at how the cities, states, and provinces of North America competed for probably the most sought-after company campus in current reminiscence.

The state takes cost

One technique was for the state to supervise submissions of HQ2 functions.

Colorado, for instance, submitted eight websites to Amazon in a bid coordinated by the Metro Denver Economic Development Coalition (MDEDC). The state labored with MDEDC to solicit web site proposals from native jurisdictions, a spokesman for Denver’s workplace of financial improvement advised Quartz. The coalition isn’t disclosing the eight websites it went with, although Quartz confirmed Denver is one in every of them.

Three states—Idaho, Missouri, and Utah—submitted state-wide bids. In Missouri’s case, the statewide entry supplemented city-level proposals from Kansas City and St. Louis. “Imagine the potential of combining the two major metropolitan areas,” Missouri’s chief working officer advised a neighborhood radio station. “That’s the kind of big bold thinking we think will appeal to Amazon.”

One benefit of the state taking cost of HQ2 submissions was that it was extra more likely to adjust to Amazon’s request that states, provinces, metro areas, and cities coordinate to submit one proposal per metropolitan statistical space (MSA), a US Census designation for an city geographical area.

Colorado, for instance, has seven MSAs within the state, together with the Denver space, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction. Idaho has six. In Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City every inhabit a distinct MSA.

The state endorses native jurisdictions

Other states didn’t submit their very own distinctive bids, however did ship proposals in favor of native jurisdictions. This method was significantly prevalent within the densely populated US Northeast, the place states didn’t block cities and cities from making use of, however solely gave an official blessing to sure submissions.

Take Connecticut, the place Quartz recognized 5 separate bids for Amazon’s new headquarters: Bridgeport/New Haven, Danbury, Greater Stamford, Greater Hartford, and Waterbury. In a 41-page pdf marked “confidential” and shared on-line, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy threw his weight behind the Greater Stamford and Greater Hartford submissions. “Both meet the outlined requirements,” he wrote in a letter. “We believe each will offer Amazon a vibrant urban setting nestled among progressive New England towns.”

New York state backed 4 regional bids: Buffalo/Rochester, Syracuse/Utica/Mohawk Valley, the Albany metro space, and New York City/Long Island/the mid-Hudson. But these weren’t the one functions that got here out of the state. Mount Vernon submitted a proposal, as did New Rochelle, and Westchester County.

Mbadachusetts, in the meantime, despatched a presentation to Amazon that included all of the town- and city-level submissions the state had been made conscious of. The full state proposal, out there on-line, touts the 125 faculties and universities in Mbadachusetts and contains letters of badist from different corporations headquartered there, corresponding to National Grid and TripAdvisor. It proposes 26 completely different cities as websites, every of which additionally submitted on to Amazon.


The most typical technique for going after Amazon was no explicit technique in any respect.

That led to some delightfully bizarre submissions. In Stonecrest, Georgia, the town council voted Four-2 to de-annex 345 acres of land and kind the town of Amazon. Gary, Indiana, took out a full-page advert addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos within the enterprise part of the New York Times. Tucson, Arizona, despatched Bezos an enormous cactus (Amazon returned it).

Other locations despatched in proposals regardless of not badembly probably the most fundamental standards, like a metro space of a minimum of 1 million individuals. The most notable of these got here from Milam County, Texas, a rural a part of the state that, with an estimated inhabitants of 24,871, isn’t even included in a metropolitan statistical space. (Dave Barkemeyer, the county decide, reportedly mentioned he hopes the county “will offer unique advantages among the many crowded, mostly urban sites” being floated to Amazon.)

Then there have been privately organized bids, just like the one from three businesswomen in Anchorage, Alaska. “There are other areas in the country that you can say are more attractive to Amazon, but we have a company that wants to invest,” Alaska Chamber president Curtis Thayer, who wrote a letter recommending Anchorage on the request one of many businesswomen, advised the Alaska Dispatch News, “We should try.”

Dave Gershgorn, Mike Murphy, Karen Hao, and Hanna Kozlowska contributed reporting.

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