Hartford Plans to Make a Pitch for Amazon Headquarters

Hartford wants to be considered as Amazon looks to build a second headquarters. 

The company said Thursday that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees.

It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be "a full equal" of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon's announcement highlights how fast the company is expanding and is certain to create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the short list. They have a little more than a month to apply through a special website, and the company said it will make a final decision next year.

Hartford mayor Luke Bronin made a statement about his plan to make a pitch shortly after Amazon's announcement. 

“We plan to make a pitch to Amazon, and we plan to work with our partners around the region to do it — but this isn’t just about Amazon. Every single day, we are in competition for businesses, for talent, and for growth, and most companies are looking for the same thing Amazon is looking for — strong metro areas with a vibrant urban core,” Bronin said in a statement.

Amazon said its search is open to any metropolitan area in North America that meets the parameters — the city itself doesn't necessarily have to have a million people — but the company declined to say how open it was to go outside of the United States.

"We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit," the company said on its search website about why it is choosing its second headquarters through a public process.

Bronin said the Greater Hartford area fits these requirements. 

"To compete and win, the Greater Hartford area has to think and act like a unified metro area, because our competition does," Bronin said in a statement. "Amazon is looking at metro areas of one million people or more, and the truth is that we are a metro area of about a million people. We have an incredible concentration of assets, whether it’s educational institutions, cultural institutions, human capital, or the physical beauty of our communities. If we start thinking of our region, marketing our region, and investing in a vibrant urban core, we can compete."

Amazon's current campus in Seattle takes up 8.1 million square feet, has 33 buildings and 24 restaurants and is home to more than 40,000 employees. At the second headquarters, Amazon said it will hire up to 50,000 new full-time employees over the next 15 years who would have an average pay of more than $100,000 a year.

Guy Berger, Ph.D, an economist for LinkedIn, called the city of Hartford a "wild card" after taking a look at the website's Workforce Report.

"There was also a wild card I didn't anticipate - Hartford, CT. Hartford's economy has been through some tough times, but it appears to have a pretty rich pool of tech talent relative to its size that is being underutilized," Berger writes.

The report said that the cities with the greatest abundance of skills are West Palm Beach, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Hartford. 

Cities and states are being advised by Amazon.com Inc. to visit the website for more information.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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