It’s official: Charlotte will “aggressively pursue” landing Amazon.com’s $5 billion second headquarters campus. But so will most other major cities across North America.
The Observer reported last week that Charlotte is expected to submit a proposal to be home to the e-commerce giant’s new North American headquarters, which could add up to 50,000 high-paying jobs. The Charlotte Regional Partnership and Charlotte Chamber confirmed Monday they will lead the effort for the region.
Amazon’s announcement last week that it is looking for a home for a second headquarters campus sent major cities across the U.S. into competition mode to prepare the sweetest proposal ahead of the company’s Oct. 19 deadline.
Charlotte Regional Partnership CEO Ronnie Bryant and Charlotte Chamber CEO Bob Morgan said in a joint statement that Charlotte “will aggressively pursue this opportunity.” The Charlotte Chamber will identify potential sites for the facility throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
“This is a transformative opportunity for our region. We are prepared to support any location within our region that is competitive. It is also an unprecedented opportunity to engage our public sector, private sector and the not for profit sector in a team effort to put our best foot forward,” the statement read.
Amazon says its new headquarters campus would have 33 building and include approximately 8.1 million square feet of office space – nearly twice as much as what’s in Ballantyne Corporate Park.
Among other criteria, Amazon says it requires for a prospective location proximity to a metro area with a population of at least 1 million, quick access to an international airport and mass transit. Charlotte fits the bill, although competition with other cities will be fierce.
Charlotte may even be competing with other North Carolina cities – Raleigh and Durham meet Amazon’s criteria, too.
“We relentlessly pursue every opportunity to bring new jobs to the state, and every day we respond to requests for proposals - from those big transformative projects that grab headlines to the many projects you don’t hear about beforehand,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland said in a statement last week.
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Brooking Institute fellow Adie Tomer made the case for Charlotte as a viable location for Amazon’s second headquarters. Among other benefits, he said, the city is “dirt cheap compared to peers,” has an “incentives culture” that makes it competitive, and has a favorable business climate.
The Washington Post included Charlotte in its list of 39 metros that could win Amazon’s contest. The Post considered a slew of factors outside of Amazon’s criteria, including the region’s relatively low cost of living, its ability to offer tax and regulatory incentives and its “geographic diversity” on the East Coast.
The New York Times, however, nixed Charlotte and Indianapolis from a list of prospective cities because they rank lower on the “cultural edginess” that attracts young and educated workers.