Baltimore woos Amazon to be home sweet home

Second Amazon headquarters could mean 50k jobs
Posted at 4:47 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 23:21:34-04

Amazon is calling it HQ2.

The online retail giant is looking for a second home in addition to its campus in Seattle.

Some of the requirements include 500,000 square feet, to be in or close to a major city, close to an international airport and within a mile or two of an interstate.

"Every key element they were looking for we can provide and we just want to get their attention and make certain they give us a good look," said Baltimore Development Corporation CEO Bill Cole.

To say city leaders like Cole were giddy at this news is putting it lightly.

Cole and the rest of this city's business and political power brokers instantly began drafting its bid for Amazon's new home here in Baltimore.

They only have five weeks to write the proposal and there will be some stiff competition, but there is no shortage of those willing to help.

"I have reached out, or had direct contact from virtually every leading business leader in the city saying what do we need to do to help?” said Cole, “There is such over whelming excitement about the possibility that everybody wants to lend a hand."

And that includes Sagamore, the development company linked to Kevin Plank and Under Armour who is about to begin its $5 billion transformation of Port Covington.

President of Sagamore Marc Weller released a statement saying Port Covington would be the perfect spot for Amazon:

“More than any other place in the country, Baltimore City and Port Covington would be a perfect home for Amazon’s second corporate headquarters.  Port Covington has the available land with a prime waterfront location on the east coast, adjacent to I-95, with ready access to international airports, rail, ports and other distribution points.  Greater Baltimore boasts an entrepreneurial, creative and diverse local workforce that is growing every year and could easily support the 50,000 jobs needed for Amazon to fill.  Along with Under Armour, having another major innovative company’s headquarters at Port Covington would be a huge boon for Baltimore City and its workforce. We will work with state and local officials to aggressively pursue this opportunity,” Weller said.

In addition to the location, Port Covington is a state enterprise zone already giftwrapped with a half billion dollar TIF passed earlier this year to facilitate development.

"The buzz was immediate, the excitement was there and people think this could be a turn-around opportunity for Baltimore in so many ways," said Greater Baltimore Committee CEO Don Fry.

More specifically, 50,000 ways as that is the amount of jobs a second Amazon headquarters could generate.

There is also excitement about the possibility of having the economic hub of two large headquarters anchored on the Middle Branch.

"Nothing could be more transformational than having two innovation companies side by side. Having that force and those number of employees, exciting young people and people just, in the economic world, about that being in one jurisdiction. I think that is what makes this such a great opportunity for Baltimore," Fry said.

But there is a short turnaround to develop the big pitch; all proposals from competing cities are due by Oct. 19.

Amazon indicated it would like to start construction in 2018, leading many to expect a decision from the online retailer fairly soon.