Delaware now supports Philadelphia in Amazon headquarter bid

DOVER — Amazon has released its first 20 candidates for its second North American headquarters.

But, nearby Philadelphia is still on the list.

Delaware leaders knew it was a longshot, but nevertheless made a pitch.

“Of course we are disappointed that Amazon has not chosen Delaware as a finalist location for its second North American headquarters,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney and several other Delaware leaders in a prepared statement Thursday morning.

“But we used this opportunity to showcase all the options in Delaware not just for Amazon, but for any business looking for a location to set down roots and grow.

“In that respect, Delaware’s effort, which brought together leaders in the public and private sectors to promote our great state, was a resounding success. Going forward, we’ll do everything we can to support Philadelphia’s application, to help bring Amazon to our region.”

Amazon has narrowed its hunt for a second headquarters to 20 locations, concentrated among cities in the U.S. East and Midwest. Toronto made the list as well, keeping the company’s international options open. The online retailer said Thursday that after sorting through 238 proposals, the potential locations still include tech-strong places like Boston and New York.

Other contenders include Chicago, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, in the Midwest.
Los Angeles was the only West Coast city on the list. Both Texas and Pennsylvania had two cities that made the cut: Austin, Dallas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the South, Miami and Atlanta are being considered.

The other contenders: Denver, Washington D.C., Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; Northern Virginia; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Inc. said it will make a final selection sometime this year.

The company’s announcement last fall that it was looking for a second home launched a fierce competition among cities looking to lure Amazon and its promise of 50,000 new jobs and construction spending of more than $5 billion.

The company had stipulated that it was seeking to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.

But Amazon also made it very clear that it wanted tax breaks, grants and any other incentives.
Some state and local governments have made public the details of the financial incentives they are dangling.

Delaware has not publicly disclosed what incentives it was offering Amazon.
In October, Delaware Gov. John Carney pitched three northern Delaware locations, including a former Claymont steel plant where a train station will be developed, as spots for Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

The sites, according to Delaware leaders, met the major requirements of Amazon’s request for proposals.

Amazon said it wants a site within 30 miles of a population center of at least 1 million people, with proximity to an international airport with daily flights to Seattle, San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C., and easy access to mass transit, and major highways. Amazon also sought initial space of 500,000 square feet, with possible total space up to 8 million square feet, which Delaware’s site options would accommodate.

“First State Crossing” — which includes 425 acres at the former Evraz Steel Mill in Claymont — is 20 miles from City Hall in Philadelphia, and 13 miles from the Philadelphia airport. The location is the site of the proposed Claymont train station.

The second location Gov. Carney mentioned was a combination of properties, totaling 82 acres, on South Market Street along the Christina River in Wilmington. I-95 is a quarter mile away from the location and the Wilmington train station is a third of a mile away. It is 27 miles from Philadelphia’s center city.

A third location proposed was 1800 Concord Pike, Fairfax, which has 500,000 square feet of existing office space available. It currently is home to AstraZeneca and a large JP Morgan Chase facility. It is a mile off I-95 and 26 miles from Philadelphia.

At the October announcement, Delaware unveiled a video called “Options in Delaware” to promote the state, not only to Amazon but to all prospects.

The joint statement was issued by Gov. Carney, Delaware’s all-Democratic congressional delegation, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Mayor of Wilmington Mike Purzycki, and New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer.

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