Bronx officials have thrown their borough into the ring to land the much sought-after location of Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
The online retailer opened bidding on Sept. 7 for the $5 billion “HQ2” that founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said would be a “full equal” to its Seattle counterpart – and which could provide 50,000 jobs to the chosen city.
Among its specifications, Amazon is looking for a metropolitan locale with a population north of 1 million, access to an international airport, mass transit and more.
“The Bronx offers more advantages to Amazon than any other municipality,” 25 officials from New York City’s northernmost borough said in a letter to Bezos.
Among the amenities touted by officials ranging from Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to state senators and Congress, City Council and Assembly members were the Bronx’s close proximity to LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport, vehicle access to Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey and a forthcoming Metro-North station in the East Bronx.
Additionally, the borough “saw $3.27 billion in total development, 37 percent higher than 2015 and the most of any year since 2009,” the letter stated. “In 2016, the Bronx also saw more than 14.2 million square feet of total development,” which was 41 percent more than the previous year and the most since 2009.
With that development, which totals nearly $13 billion over the past eight years, “unemployment has been cut by more than half,” officials said.
“We have convinced the curious but skeptical that the Bronx is open for business,” the letter continued. “Those who have come to take a look have quickly made the decision to stay. As the company that always thought ‘out of the box,’ we invite you to come and see our ongoing positive transformation for yourself. It will become a real home not just for your company but for the workers that you are going to add to your roster.”
The officials indicated that there are “several” potential sites for Amazon’s HQ2, but Diaz’s office told Metro they are keeping mum on what and where they may be for now but did say "so far, we've heard nothing but positive feedback from constituents."
Cedric Loftin, district manager of Bronx Community Board 1, agreed. "Amazon is a magnificent firm that’s growing not just here in this country but throughout the world, and I think them coming to New York and picking the Bronx would be ideal,” he said. “I think we’d be able to receive them warmly, and they’d be a welcome addition to the borough.”
Amazon will accept proposals until Oct. 19, and the company is slated to select the HQ2 location sometime next year.