BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For a little more than a month, communities across the United States and Canada have been frantically putting together their best case as to why retail giant Amazon should chose them as the location for the company's second headquarters.
"That's probably the largest business development opportunity in the history of the country," Empire State Development President & CEO Howard Zemsky said.
The deadline for proposals arrived Thursday. In New York, four metro regions have made submissions.
"I think New York aligns better than any state in the country for Amazon's businesses and I could see a lot of scenarios where New York provides a compelling opportunity for Amazon,” Zemsky said.
There are joint bids from the Buffalo and Rochester metro regions; Syracuse, Utica and the Mohawk Valley; a third from the Capital Region and a fourth from the New York City metro which includes the five boroughs, Long Island and Westchester County. Each bid has its own regional flavor but the organizations that put the proposals together said they all focus on existing infrastructure, the large university system, and diverse workforce.
"This creates a unique opportunity for us to talk about the region, talk about the assets and talk about the things that many of us that live here and go to school here and decided to raise a family as a place to call home (already know)" Andrew Kennedy, Center for Economic Growth President, said.
Economic development officials aren't sure how long it will take Amazon to winnow down the field but they plan to prepare as if their proposals will be chosen for a second look, which could include visits from the company.
"Some companies like to test and see how well your community is prepared, if what you put in the package, the response to the RFP or whatever they're asking for, matches up with your ability to deliver it,” Tom Kucharski, Invest Buffalo Niagara President & CEO, said.
“They hire the kids away from U of R and RIT when they graduate and take them out west. I’d rather have them stay here," said Danny Wegman, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development and longtime Wegmans exec.
Each bid included the same letter from the governor. In the name of competitive advantage, the state said it’s not disclosing the amount of tax incentives but has promised equal support for each submission.
"A decision like this for Amazon will take into account a lot of different factors. I would say, every chromosome in my body is confident is that this decision will not be determined by incentives,” Zemsky said. “It will be a factor."
Because of non-disclosure agreements, the full proposals cannot yet be released but leaders say eventually they will make them public and potentially use them for future projects.