New website launched to lure Amazon’s HQ2 to Charlotte

In the nationwide race to lure Amazon’s second headquarters, Charlotte economic developers have launched a new website:

The site goes along with #CLTisPrime and @CLTisPrime, the hashtag and Twitter handles Charlotte has been using to promote the bid. Seattle-based Amazon said bids for its second headquarters, a $5 billion project that’s expected to bring 50,000 jobs to whichever city wins, are due next week, Oct. 19.

In addition to the Charlotte Chamber and the Charlotte Regional Partnership preparing a formal bid listing the city’s qualifications, there are other efforts to draw attention to Charlotte. A “grass-roots” summit planned for Wednesday morning called the Hivestorm will host people at UNC-Charlotte’s uptown campus to brainstorm ways to highlight the city.

The #CLTisPrime hashtag has also been plastered on CATS buses, along with the route numbers.

It’s the sort of all-out, public pitch to lure a company that’s rarely seen in the hush-hush world of economic development, when cities and states typically compete quietly under strict nondisclosure agreements to entice prospects. Charlotte has some experience in the public arena: The “Bananas4CLT” campaign in 2011 helped convince Chiquita to move its headquarters to Charlotte, though the company soon hit financial difficulties and was bought by foreign private equity firms that relocated the offices away.

“The Charlotte region is growing – delivering a climate that fosters opportunities for everyone to make their mark on the community,” the introduction to the new website reads. “Whether you’re looking to start a business, build a family or exercise your creativity, Charlotte is prime for it.”

Charlotte faces tough competition in its bid: More than 100 cities have expressed interest, according to the Seattle Times, including such likely front-runners as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Boston and Dallas.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo