(WWJ) Detroit is pulling out all the stops in its quest to land Amazon and its $5 billion investment in a potential second headquarters.
Detroit’s bid is among 238 Amazon has received for the opportunity to land its new HQ. Detroit is widely considered to be one of the top five options.
Rounding the top five contenders, according to Inc Magazine, are Austin, Texas, Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Denver, and Washington D.C. Inc praised Detroit as a “triumph from a public relations standpoint” for Amazon.
“The proposal we put in was outstanding, now we’ll see what happens,” Mayor Mike Duggan told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas Wednesday morning. “The reality is only Amazon knows what their criteria are and sometime this year they’re going to reduce the number. I think we’ve got a good chance of making that cut.”
Amazon had stipulated that it wanted to be near a metro area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.
Some people are pointing out a pair of potential problems with Michigan’s bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters — and the 50,000 jobs that would go with it.
“If there’s a hole in the state’s bid to land Amazon and those 50,000 jobs it has to do with talent and transportation,” WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said.
Jeff Mason, who runs the Michigan Strategic Fund, described those as “critical issues.”
“Well keep working hard on it every day,” Mason told Skubick, adding,”I like our chances.”
The pitch to bring Amazon to Detroit is a group effort. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan tapped billionaire developer Dan Gilbert to head up a the 59-member bid committee which includes county executives, university presidents, politicians and prominent CEOs from across the metro Detroit region.
Bloomberg has also ranked Detroit’s chances in the top ten, a list that includes such heavyweights as Atlanta, Austin, Denver and Chicago.
But no one else is giving up. CNN Money reports “cities have made elaborate and creative gestures in an effort to woo Amazon. Kansas City Mayor Sly James wrote five-star reviews for 1,000 random items on Amazon’s website; Tucson sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a giant cactus; and New York City lit up landmarks like the Empire State Building in ‘Amazon orange.'”
Win or lose, Southfield Mayor Kinson Siver said the bid process draws attention for new development at the Northland site in his community. “It notched up the profile of a prime site that we’re in the process of getting ready for redevelopment. We’re about 70 percent complete with the environmental removals.”
The mayor added a crew has been hired for the first phase of demo and they’re untangling property easement issues to give the land a clear title. Southfield spent $2.4 million to buy the mall and is expected to spend $8 million to $10 million to demolish it. Southfield’s former Northland site is a part of the regional bid.