Toledo Talk

Amazon looking for city to build second headquarters

Http://www.geekwire.com/2017/six-cities-amazon-consider-second-headquarters/amp/

https://nytimes.com/2017/09/07/technology/amazon-headquarters-north-america.html

City signup here: https://www.amazon.com/amazonHQ2

How cool would it be for our city leaders to get their collective act together and frame our region in the right way to attract this kind of investment?!

created by upso on Sep 07, 2017 at 10:46:21 am     Local-Politics     Comments: 42

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I see no mention that those will be union jobs sorry not interested.

posted by In_vin_veritas on Sep 07, 2017 at 10:53:37 am     #   2 people liked this

From what I read they want a metropolitan population of over 1 million, so unless the frame extends all the way to Detroit there's no point.

posted by Columbusguy on Sep 07, 2017 at 11:00:06 am     #  

Toledo would be a great location seeing how convenient we are to I-75 and the Turnpike and close to a lot of major cities.

I doubt Amazon would be interested though seeing Toledo has absurd city taxes, absurd water and electric rates and that the unions control everything

posted by classylady on Sep 07, 2017 at 02:17:31 pm     #  

Columbus is sitting in the drivers seat here... city leaders have been talking to Amazon for the past year in getting a big Amazon presence there.

posted by odnation on Sep 07, 2017 at 02:58:11 pm     #  

The last time a major corporation (Menard's) approached the city government about building an assembly plant in Toledo, the government was so rude and obstructive that they left and built it elsewhere. So even if Amazon selected Toledo as a candidate, PH2 and her krewe would run 'em off.

posted by madjack on Sep 07, 2017 at 03:07:34 pm     #  

It's not coming to Toledo. Detroit, Columbus, Cleveland, maybe. 1 million people and an infrastructure to support the growth.

posted by ahmahler on Sep 07, 2017 at 03:31:42 pm     #  

Toledo should pitch, anyway. It's good exercise for city leaders to ensure that their promotions are current, and who knows, maybe Amazon remembers Toledo for something else in the future. They'll keep our resume on file.

I'm not saying that this January 2017 story would be an example of the "something else", but a giant like Amazon has all kinds of needs. Even a billion dollar investment and nearly 3,000 jobs are still decent.

Amazon to add 2,700 jobs at Cincinnati airport

Online retail giant Amazon will add an air cargo hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Amazon plans to invest more than $1 billion into the new hub, and plans to employ 2,700 people at the airport.

Amazon announced earlier this month that it plans to create more than 100,000 new positions by 2018. The company already employs 180,000 people.


Excerpts from https://www.amazon.com/amazonHQ2 shows that some region is going to score big.

What will be the benefits for the city finally selected to host your second headquarters?

We expect to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow our second headquarters location to be a full equal to Amazonís current campus in Seattle, creating as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

In addition to Amazonís direct hiring and investment, construction and 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.

Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the cityís economy Ė every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.40 for the cityís economy overall.

Why is Amazon choosing its second headquarters location via a public process?

We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit.


I predict that Amazon chooses the Detroit-Ann Arbor region.

posted by jr on Sep 07, 2017 at 03:32:25 pm     #  

Toledo not eligible, since it did not renew its Prime membership.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Sep 07, 2017 at 04:51:13 pm     #   1 person liked this

Would locating in the Detroit area, Columbus area, or any other Ohio actually help the Toledo area.....or would it hurt it? My guess is it would hurt it. (more brain drain)

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Sep 07, 2017 at 05:25:20 pm     #  

I think it would help toledo if they ended up in Detroit. Like the auto industry there are a lot of feeder businesses that would support the operation.

posted by upso on Sep 07, 2017 at 07:18:44 pm     #  

I would love to see them choose Detroit/Ann Arbor. (I'm assuming Toledo is too small to win on it's own.)

As upso said, there are likely a lot of feeder businesses that would grow to support the operation.

Admittedly, I'm biased because I grew up in SE Michigan, but I do think it would bring growth opportunities for Toledo too.

posted by mom2 on Sep 07, 2017 at 10:36:01 pm     #  

Detroit would be a good choice. They would get to do all kinds of bragging about "bringing Detroit back to life", "auto industry of the future" etc. And I imagine that the city and state would throw unbelievable incentives at them.

posted by Ace_Face on Sep 08, 2017 at 07:58:37 am     #  

Sep 7, 2017 - Detroit Free Press - Could Detroit make a pitch for Amazon headquarters? City is 'carefully evaluating'

Could? Carefully?

Some key factors for a site selection:

  • proximity to a major airport
  • a friendly regulatory environment
  • taxes
  • livability
  • sustainable and affordable energy
  • advanced mass transit
  • readiness for autonomous vehicles
Amazon is also willing to consider greenfield sites, infill sites, existing buildings, or a combination for the project, according to the RFP.

Amazon also said that tax incentives offered by state or local communities to offset costs will be significant factors in the decision.

... Amazon would probably seek a region that's "investing in education, investing in workforce, investing for the long term."

Officials in many areas, including Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, Cincinnati and Indianapolis have already signaled plans to pursue the project.


Excerpts from an mlive.com story

So what does Amazon want for this HQ?

Here are 7 requirements:

1. Tax incentives

Any entity responding to the RFP needs to be ready to attach some cash.

"Outline the type of incentive (i.e. land, site preparation, tax credits/exemptions, relocation grants, workforce grants, utility incentives/grants, permitting, and fee reductions) and the amount," it says. "The initial cost and ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers."

That's not a surprise. Amazon - which posted sales of $136 billion in 2016 - is known across the country for seeking tax breaks. That follows years of fighting to keep online sales tax-free.

"Amazon's tax avoidance strategy has never gone away," said Thomas Cafcas, formerly of Good Jobs First in Washington, D.C., during an interview this summer. "Now, instead of sales tax, itís other kinds of taxes."

Amazon has hired "an arsenal of lobbyists, lawyers and accountants ... to help them negotiate and manage economic development tax breaks," Cafcas said.

2. Proximity to a population center of 1 million or more people.

This is where metro areas come into play, more so [than] individual cities in Michigan. Detroit is our state's largest city, with about 672,000 residents. But Greater Detroit - including Ann Arbor and the counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb - totals more than 5 million people.

3. Access to key transportation.

This includes not more than 2 miles from a key highway and less than 45 minutes from an international airport. Mass transit must be available at the site.

"(D)aily direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. is also an important consideration."

Detroit Metropolitan Airport has all four.

4. Quality of life.

This is my phrasing, not Amazon's. But this economic development 'catch phrase' seems to convey some of the intangibles that Amazon seeks for HQ2. Consider these statements from the RFP about what it wants:

  • Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.
  • Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.
  • Be sure to include opportunities to cultivate local culture and creativity into the Amazon HQ2 site.

More from Amazon: "The Project requires a compatible cultural and community environment for its long-term success. This includes the presence and support of a diverse population, excellent institutions of higher education, local government structure and elected officials eager and willing to work with the company, among other attributes. "

It also wants to know housing information, including prices; as well as crime data and recreation opportunities.

5. A big, smart labor pool. And a university.

"A highly educated labor pool is critical and a strong university system is required."

A little more about the jobs:

These are not the low-skilled 'sortation center' jobs paying $12.75 per hour that are spreading across the country. According to Amazon, the jobs will likely be broken down into the following categories: executive/management, engineering with a preference for software development engineers (SDE), legal, accounting, and administrative.

6. A stable business climate.

"Please provide labor and wage rate information in the general job categories described. Please provide relevant labor pool information and your ability to attract talent regionally."

7. Computer scientists.

Amazon is a tech company, even as it moves into bricks-and-mortar retail. It's HQ2 hiring needs involve tech skills.

It wants "a list of universities and community colleges with relevant degrees and the number of students graduating with those degrees over the last three years. Additionally, include information on your local/regional K-12 education programs related to computer science."

The end result will be a big campus - think Ford in Dearborn - and it's not expecting a specific 'look' as it goes into the process. It's looking for creative options that will have sustainable features and great connectivity.

posted by jr on Sep 08, 2017 at 09:14:51 am     #  

Here's a list that someone in Chicago thinks are the likely candidates

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-amazon-second-headquarters-cities-20170908-story.html

posted by ahmahler on Sep 08, 2017 at 09:43:24 am     #  

Sounds like we are out of running but would be nice if Detroit would put forth an effort as the proximity would be a help recruiting smaller tech firms.

posted by In_vin_veritas on Sep 08, 2017 at 10:29:24 am     #  

The article from the Chicago Trib listed nine cities that I wouldn't even consider for obvious reasons, and one city that might be a natural: Toronto.

Anyone who has been to Toronto can appreciate the way the city is laid out, and a public transportation system that actually works. The only real downside to Toronto is the winter - brutal, in a way we don't see in the US of A. That could put the brakes to the entire business when you consider that the entire city can easily be shut off from the rest of the world for a few days at a time.

I'd like to see it in Columbus, OH, but were it I picking the city, I'd do one of two things:
1. Put it in, say, Jacksonville, FL or maybe Houston, TX. Jax looks good for this kind of place, as there is already plenty of available housing and the culture in Jax is high.
2. Put it in Toledo with a few caveats. Like, for instance, I get to hand pick the next mayor and over half the city council; Toledo will pay for new construction in and around the Toledo Express Airport; and the city will become the most bike and dog friendly city in the entire Midwest. That includes mandatory jail time for drivers who harass bicyclists or fail to yield the right of way.

My real reasoning behind Toledo as a possible choice is that Amazon would end up owning the place, and while it's true that the gravel pit needs renovation worse than I need a drink right now, some decent planning and union busting would go a long way.

posted by madjack on Sep 08, 2017 at 04:13:41 pm     #   1 person liked this

I've been to Toronto more times that I'd like to admit and even married a Torontonian... there are a ton of problems with having Toronto host Amazon's second HQ... their public transport system is incredible and is getting better with what MetroLinx is building out, but everything else sucks.

In an era of "America First", Amazon will have a really hard time convincing Americans that an American company chose Toronto over another American city.

Taxes are horrible. Their harmonized sales tax is 13% - ridiculous. My wife worked at one of the big four in downtown Toronto and literally half of her pay check went to taxes. With that said, good luck convincing high skilled talent/engineers and executives to live there. Canada as a whole doesn't have the population to feed Amazon's needs... if the US doesn't (so they say), then you can bet Toronto won't, despite having one of the best Universities in the world. And how would Amazon pay their employees, CSD or USD? If it's CSD, you won't get many Americans to work there unless they want to stay long term. 1 CSD = .80 cents USD, and while they may or may not get better, converting money is a pain in the ass and banks never go with the real time - they're going to pocket some of it too as I learned the hard way. It's well known that engineers in Canada get far less than those in the US, even when working in high cost Toronto.

But what will really kill it for Toronto is where would you even put this campus? All the coveted areas in the financial district/old Toronto are taken. Toronto has been on a building spree the last 7 years and there's really no place to put a campus that will require a decent amount of land. Take a look at what they have in Seattle... that's not going to happen in Toronto unless they go Yorkville, the water front where old browns fields are or the distillery district.

One shouldn't expect the Canadian govt to bend over backwards to give incentives and dilute regulations for Bezos... which is why business friendly Texas and North Carolina are the likely winners here.

posted by odnation on Sep 11, 2017 at 11:09:12 am     #  

"In an era of "America First", Amazon will have a really hard time convincing Americans that an American company chose Toronto over another American city."

In my opinion, if Amazon.com chooses a Canadian or Mexican city to be the location of its second headquarters, it will matter zilch to shoppers.

According to Wikipedia, Amazon employs over 300,000 people. Many of those employees work outside the U.S.

"... good luck convincing high skilled talent/engineers and executives to live there."

Currently, Amazon maintains a development center in Toronto that employs highly-skilled technical people. It's not 50,000 employees, but tech people work for Amazon, Apple, and other tech companies in Toronto.

Some of those Amazon Toronto job titles include:

  • Cloud Application Architect
  • Senior UX Designer - Connections
  • Software Development Engineer - Amazon Alexa
  • Software Development Engineer, Amazon Flex
  • Senior Software Engineer - Speech & NLU
  • Oracle DB Cloud Architect
  • Enterprise Manager - AWS Enterprise Support
  • Software Development Engineer - Amazon FreeTime
  • Manager, Advertising Services

From a 2015 story

In the U.S., itís becoming more difficult for technology companies to add the number of people needed to match business growth because of caps on foreign workers. Canada doesnít have a limit for the hiring of highly skilled foreign employees.

posted by jr on Sep 11, 2017 at 01:40:03 pm     #  

Whatever city lands the Amazon hub will pay in full for each of those 50000 jobs, via various incentives. Decent chance in fact that they will pay more than the jobs are worth. No way would Toledo have sufficient money for such an expenditure.

posted by MariaL on Sep 11, 2017 at 03:15:06 pm     #  

No way would Toledo have sufficient money for such an expenditure.

You have no idea how many times this did NOT stop them from spending it.

posted by justread on Sep 11, 2017 at 03:21:43 pm     #   1 person liked this

Get them up in a helicopter and fly them around....errrrr...never mind.

posted by Molsonator on Sep 11, 2017 at 03:49:10 pm     #   1 person liked this

One shouldn't expect the Canadian govt to bend over backwards to give incentives and dilute regulations for Bezos... which is why business friendly Texas and North Carolina are the likely winners here.

Those damn states, making it attractive to companies to do business there.

Don't they know businesses are for government to raise revenue. Bastards for moving to places where a tax incentive saves them millions.

I'm sure Bezos would also just L-O-V-E our local labor unions. Oh wait...

posted by oldhometown on Sep 11, 2017 at 07:54:50 pm     #  

http://www.toledoblade.com/business/2017/10/06/Group-offering-521-acres-in-Maumee-to-Amazon.html

Ya gotta try right! Appreciate the effort.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Oct 06, 2017 at 08:02:11 pm     #  

It would be better for Toledo if Maumee got it over Detroit but I do not see it happening. Couldnít think of a more boring location, and I tried....

posted by upso on Oct 06, 2017 at 09:12:21 pm     #  

Toledo meets none of the criteria to even be considered. And Maumee has a fraction of the offering that Toledo could potentially bring to the table. This is as pipe dream as pipe dreams pipe dream.

posted by Johio83 on Oct 06, 2017 at 10:37:55 pm     #  

But hey, I'll never criticize anyone for trying. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all, maybe.

posted by Johio83 on Oct 06, 2017 at 10:39:23 pm     #  

I read a great article yesterday, and I canít remember where I saw, it, so Iíll dig a bit, about how their search is looking at the wrong things. The take away was that a) places like Boston or Chicago donít need something like this, whereas a Cleveland, Detroit or smaller mid sized city, could be a real game changer. B) Many of the things they need, would eventually come together, with the opportunity. C) It would also benefit employees, due to cost of living-equal wages become more competitive in Detroit than Chicago.

Iím not getting my hope up, but Iím really rooting for many of our neighboring major cities.

posted by ahmahler on Oct 07, 2017 at 07:21:56 am     #  

Absolutely. As much as Toledo feeds from Detroit's scraps, I think I'd prefer seeing it go to Cleveland. Detroit seems to have a lot more of its own upward momentum right now. Columbus has been going gangbusters (recently moved up to #14 in largest US cities), and Cincinnati has been making big strides in its redevelopment. Of four major cities mentioned, I feel like Cleveland would benefit the most from this.

Don't get me wrong, I'll be shouting from the rooftops if any of these cities is lucky enough to be selected. What I'd hate to see is it ending up in a Charlotte or Austin or Dallas, or some other city that is already experiencing more growth than it knows what to do with.

posted by Johio83 on Oct 07, 2017 at 11:08:48 am     #   1 person liked this

I think that Amazon's announcement is being misinterpreted as "we plan to establish a second headquarters and and are soliciting data from cities to determine where it will do the most good".
Far from it: I read the announcement as "we plan to establish a second headquarters and are soliciting cities' most lucrative cash and incentive offers to purchase our jobs"
And don't bother to respond if your offer is not in the tens of billions.
(Tennessee paid Volkswagen an estimated $115000 to $260000 per job in incentives to keep a VW factory in their state.)

posted by MariaL on Oct 07, 2017 at 12:47:24 pm     #   1 person liked this

Detroit's hype video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO4J_PC1b5M

officially submitted to Amazon

posted by odnation on Oct 19, 2017 at 09:59:41 am     #   1 person liked this

Warts and all, I still love my hometown.

posted by Foodie on Oct 19, 2017 at 01:06:42 pm     #  

Saw on the news this morning that a town in Georgia has agreed to change its name to Amazon, Georgia as part of their package !

posted by Hoops on Oct 19, 2017 at 01:12:34 pm     #  

Topeka tried that with Google, with poor results.

posted by Johio83 on Oct 19, 2017 at 01:14:34 pm     #  

Toledo offering Southwyck to Amazon is the Toledoest move possible. Made me giggle, too.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on Oct 20, 2017 at 08:39:57 am     #   1 person liked this

I know, right? This is an opportunity for the city and the university to collaborate: give Amazon the whole Scott Park Campus; promise some cool-looking electric shuttles to UT, Westgate, DT; set up internships and a career path for graduates; then the desired Dorr Street highway interchange can be justified for the future.

posted by viola on Oct 20, 2017 at 02:02:58 pm     #  

viola posted at 03:02:58 PM on Oct 20, 2017:

I know, right? This is an opportunity for the city and the university to collaborate: give Amazon the whole Scott Park Campus; promise some cool-looking electric shuttles to UT, Westgate, DT; set up internships and a career path for graduates; then the desired Dorr Street highway interchange can be justified for the future.

Now there's some fantastic out of the box thinking! Well done viola. Well done indeed.

posted by Foodie on Oct 20, 2017 at 03:05:22 pm     #  

I know this is old news, and that ship has already sailed, but I finally had a chance to look at the proposal to Amazon from Toledo. My son and I were discussing it, and he pointed out something on page 20. On that page, the proposal is bragging about the commitment to education that Toledo has . But they spelled kindergarten wrong. In the same sentence that they are bragging about their commitment to education. LOL.

http://www.toledoblade.com/attachment/2017/10/19/Toledo-Amazon-HQ2-proposal.pdf

posted by foodie88 on Nov 07, 2017 at 03:24:51 pm     #  

Oof. That's a little embarrassing. Especially with spell check readily available.

posted by mom2 on Nov 07, 2017 at 05:17:08 pm     #  

They also misspelled Columbia Gas as Columbis Gas on page 10... good grief

posted by odnation on Nov 07, 2017 at 05:27:21 pm     #  

^^ proofed by WTOL:-)

posted by justareviewer on Nov 07, 2017 at 05:27:48 pm     #   6 people liked this

According to the Seattle Times, the city of Chicago offered to let Amazon keep the taxes deducted from workers' paychecks. This is truly a race to the bottom:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Libertarian/comments/7fw21h/chicago_offered_to_let_amazon_pocket_132b_in/

posted by viola on Nov 27, 2017 at 05:41:53 pm     #  

viola posted at 05:41:53 PM on Nov 27, 2017:

According to the Seattle Times, the city of Chicago offered to let Amazon keep the taxes deducted from workers' paychecks. This is truly a race to the bottom:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Libertarian/comments/7fw21h/chicago_offered_to_let_amazon_pocket_132b_in/

Yeah-thatís just crazy. To reiterate, withholdings from paychecks would have been the same, but the state was offering give all of those collected state taxes BACK to Amazon. This would set a REALLY bad precedent.

posted by ahmahler on Nov 27, 2017 at 08:47:56 pm     #