The announcement that Amazon is looking for a site to develop a second headquarters has city and state official across the country racing to put together proposals. A robust in-state competition is shaping up in Massachusetts.
About a dozen Massachusetts municipalities, some acting in partnerships, have signaled an interest in making a pitch to Amazon.
" It is just too big an opportunity for people to not seriously take a look at it," said Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, who added he has been in touch with the mayors and town administrators in the Pioneer Valley to discuss putting together a proposal to Amazon.
Sullivan, a member of former Gov. Deval Patrick’s cabinet, said he’s also spoken with Jay Ash, the head of economic development for Gov. Charlie Baker.
" The state is going to have to be a partner, " said Sullivan.
Analyst believe Massachusetts will need to offer Amazon an incentive package that far exceeds the $145 million in local and state tax breaks used to lure General Electric’s headquarters to move to Boston last year.
Amazon denied a Bloomberg Business News report that Boston is the leading candidate for its second North American headquarters.
Locations on the state’s south coast and south shore are reportedly being proposed. The mayors of Lawrence, Haverhill, and North Andover say they plan to send a joint application.
Sullivan said it is possible western Massachusetts could partner with Connecticut in the bid for Amazon.
"We are looking across the border to possibly working with Hartford because as part of the Knowledge Corridor region it gives you a million people, which makes it a metropolitan area of significant size, which is one of the requirements in the Amazon RFP," explained Sullivan.
Another requirement of Amazon’s request for proposals for its second headquarters is access to an international airport. Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn. serves both Greater Springfield and Greater Hartford.
Even if the region loses out, going through the application process is beneficial, according to Sullivan.
" I think it is a good exercise for us to get everybody on the same page as a region to talk about the really great attributes we have here in western Massachusetts," said Sullivan.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said a bid from western Massachusetts for Amazon’s second headquarters may be considered, by some, to be a long shot, but the prospect of 50,000 high-paying jobs is impossible to ignore.
" If you don't try, you'll never know and we have a lot to offer here," said Sarno.
Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal said he hopes Amazon takes a serious look at what western Massachusetts has to offer.
"I think (Amazon) would do America a favor if they decided to locate in a mid-sized community," said Neal.
Amazon set Oct. 19 as the deadline for proposals.