Still the announcement got Atlanta’s real estate and economic development circles buzzing.
Officials connected to state and local recruiting agencies said Amazon’s announcement came as a shock. Two said they expected practically every state and major city in the nation to at least respond to the RFP, with likely contenders being Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville and the Washington, D.C., area, to name just a few.
Could the former General Motors plant property in Doraville, slated for a mixed-use development known as Assembly, be appealing to Amazon? J. Scott Trubeyemail@example.com
Credit: J. Scott Trubey/STAFF
Credit: J. Scott Trubey/STAFF
The Thursday morning announcement set off the largest corporate jobs recruitment bonanza in modern memory. It’s sure to ignite an incentives bidding war, and Amazon’s public launch of such a project sent a clear signal to governments across North America: Have your checkbooks ready.
Amazon asked governments to identify incentive programs such as tax credits, exemptions, grants for relocation and workforce and other cost reduction programs.
“The initial cost and ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers,” the document said.
Job recruitment is often a secretive business, but some companies have chosen of late to go public with their plans and, in effect, creating open bidding wars. Automakers Toyota and Mazda announced plans for a U.S. plant this year, and companies such as Tesla, Boeing and Archer Daniels Midland have made relocation or expansion plans public in recent years.
A rendering of Summerhill, the planned mixed-use development around Georgia State Stadium, formerly known as Turner Field. The northern end of the property could be pitched for a corporate campus, developer Carter has said. SPECIAL
Corporate headquarters, particularly for such a massive company as Amazon, are coveted by lawmakers and business leaders for their quantity of high-paying jobs.
Amazon said it expects to invest more than $5 billion on HQ2 over a decade or more, and “in addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”
Economic development officials have much to pitch in metro Atlanta. The region offers relatively affordable real estate, both in terms of existing buildings and raw land, and a skilled labor force. Atlanta also has landed in recent years the North American headquarters of Mercedes-Benz, a division and software development center by Honeywell, the headquarters of GE Digital and a software center from health care giant Anthem.
Aerial of the front gate at Fort McPherson shot from the east looking west on Aug. 24, 2005. Filmmaker Tyler Perry acquired most of the property, but a government-backed redevelopment authority recently named a developer for the remainder of the site. AJC File Photo
Amazon said the response deadline to the RFP is Oct. 19, with a final decision expected next year. The company said it prefers a metro area of greater than 1 million residents and said it will consider “urban or suburban” locations to help attract and retain talent.
The document said the company wants jurisdictions to “think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline.” Among the company’s requirements, are easy access to major highways, a location within 45 minutes of an international airport and direct mass transit access.
Amazon said its requirements would start with a first phase of up 1 million square feet, with at least half of that needed by 2019.
Amazon said it will consider greenfield development, infill sites and existing buildings, or a combination.
Rendering of the High Street project in Dunwoody just west of Perimeter Mall. It’s a large tract of developable land on MARTA slated for apartments, condos, retail and office space. Would Amazon be a good fit here? Source: GID Urban Developement
Currently, there aren't many large blocks of vacant space in existing buildings in metro Atlanta, though a number of developers have proposed speculative towers to woo would-be tenants. There are large parcels of potentially developable land near existing and future rail transit, including at the former General Motors site in Doraville, the High Street site near the Dunwoody MARTA station, Fort McPherson, the former Turner Field redevelopment and along the Beltline. Georgia Tech has sizable land holdings and plans to transform its Technology Enterprise Park into a bioscience campus.
Available land also exists in downtown Atlanta's Gulch area, which has caught the eyes of developers.
Amazon said annual average compensation for the jobs is expected to be $100,000. Jobs would include software designers and engineers, corporate finance and executive roles.
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