What life could look like if Amazon comes to town

Mayors and local leaders from across the United States, and right here in the Valley, are eager to woo Amazon to their towns

FILE - In this June 30, 2011, file photo, a United Parcel Service driver delivers packages from Amazon.com in Palo Alto, Calif. A joke book “written” by a conservative author and filled with blank pages in a dig at Democrats topped Amazon's list of best sellers on March 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

NILES, Ohio (WKBN and The Associated Press) – Mayors and local leaders from across the United States, and right here in the Valley, are eager to woo Amazon to their towns.

The Associated Press talked to the leaders of more than 50 cities or metropolitan regions about the different ways they’re showcasing themselves to the Seattle e-commerce company. The bids are due Thursday.

Denver and Austin, for instance, boast of “300 days of sunshine” – a sharp contrast to the rainy Pacific Northwest. But Albuquerque upped the ante, promising 310 cloudless days.

In Howland, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber is offering up 105 acres next to the Eastwood Mall with good highway access, existing utilities, walkability and the potential to expand.

Ohio’s congressional delegation has made a bipartisan pitch, touting the state’s central location, higher education, workforce, transportation and “business-friendly” environment without singling out one Buckeye locale as tops.

Birmingham, Alabama, isn’t just flirting with the idea of landing Amazon’s new headquarters. It’s REALLY flirting, by having people send pre-generated tweets to the company. One reads: “Amazon, we got a 100% match on Bumble. Wanna go on a date?”

Courting Amazon and then winning a proposal ensures all but instant prosperity. According to the Seattle Times, Amazon’s extraordinary growth has turned Seattle into the biggest company town in America.

Amazon’s footprint in Seattle covers 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, covering 8.1 million square feet. The company is being credited with driving up wages, lowering unemployment, and starting a construction boom.

And while prospective communities are eager to win the eye of the e-commerce giant, folks in Seattle who are living with their mega-business neighbor say there have been some downsides.

For years now, much of downtown Seattle has been a maze of construction sites. Dozens of enormous cranes tower overhead as double-length dump trucks hauling excavated dirt rumble past pedestrians and bicyclists. The crashing and clanging of construction is the city’s soundtrack on perpetual loop.

Housing prices have soared faster than anywhere else in the country, driving some low- and even middle-income residents beyond city limits. Traffic is frequently unmentionable. And while Amazon is far from solely to blame for these issues life in its hometown is indeed one more endeavor the tech giant has disrupted. Even so, all of that sounds great to the communities working to win Amazon, and they say bring it on.

Howland is hoping Amazon decides to settle in our neck of Northeast Ohio. If they do, an 8-million-square-foot facility will be built, six times bigger than the Eastwood Mall. The total cost of construction will be about $5 billion dollars.

Amazon announced last month that it was seeking a location for the second headquarters in North America. It said the new campus will bring 50,000 new jobs over 10 to 15 years.

Bid are due Thursday. A decision will be made in 2018.

Ohio is getting two Amazon fulfillment centers, which are basically warehouses and distribution centers.


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