On Oct. 19, Georgia delivered its bid to Amazon's Seattle offices, joining more than 230 other bidders for arguably the largest jobs prize in recent memory. Site visits are expected soon.
Amazon’s public wish list is broad: It wants mass transit access and sites near highways. Room to expand its campus to 8 million square feet, or something the size of six Bank of America Plaza towers. Proximity to a bustling international airport.
It needs coders, programmers, engineers and loads of executive talent.
Amazon has made it clear that it needs 500,000 square feet to 750,000 square feet immediately, and about that much in additional space every 18 months through 2027.
Those needs could be fulfilled by both existing buildings or new ones.
“Given the publicly stated goals of Amazon: we tick all the boxes,” Intercontinental Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher said this month before the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s annual meeting.
Little is known about the package Georgia offered, but people familiar with the situation said it touted dozens of potential sites, included descriptions of high-dollar incentive programs, current and future transportation investments and touted the region's cultural touchstones. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at the time called the pitch "the most aggressive economic attraction package that the state of Georgia has ever put forward."
Georgia Power plays an outsize role in the state’s economic development apparatus, helping companies and the state find sites that fit prospects’ needs and providing the power for their operations.
Bowers didn’t divulge any secrets about the state’s overtures to Amazon, but as an executive at a Fortune 500 company, and as a critical player in Georgia’s all-hands-on-deck approach to wooing Amazon, his thoughts provide critical context to the thinking of government and business leaders who participated in the process.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development is leading the recruiting effort, leaning on Georgia Power’s business recruitment team, the economic development divisions of other major utilizes, as well as local agencies such as Invest Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and major corporations.
A real estate task force led by Cousins Properties CEO Larry Gellerstedt helped examine the potential sites.
“I think our team did an outstanding job,” Bowers said.