County Executive Rob Astorino is making a pitch to try and land Amazon’s second headquarters in Westchester. He stood outside the Westchester County Center in White Plains Tuesday with several elected officials and business and education leaders, saying Westchester has a number of locations at the ready and is the smartest choice for the e-commerce giant.
Astorino read his remarks after they were delivered in an Amazon box via drone.
“We have everything that Amazon is looking for and more,” Astorino says. “We’ve got talent. We’ve got accessibility, quality of life. We’ve got value and we’ve got locations, locations, locations.”
Some of these locations include in cities in lower Westchester — White Plains, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle — and in a suburban location in the northern part of the county, Somers. Rick Morrissey is Somers supervisor.
“Somers has world-class corporate space in the former IBM and Pepsi campuses,” Morrissey says. “The location is in one of the most strategic areas in the metropolitan area. Tech companies have flourished in suburban enclaves. And Somers is a fertile ground for the East Coast tech scene.”
He says the former IBM campus has 1 million square feet of move-in ready space and Pepsi has 540,000 square feet move-in ready. The campuses are just minutes apart and a 45-minute commute from Manhattan. In fact, Astorino says Westchester offers accessibility, with three Metro-North rail lines and the major New York City-area airports within 45 minutes of the county.
“And Amazon is in the business of getting things from here to there, and Westchester’s access to planes, trains and highways is second to none,” says Astorino.
Plus, he says:
“Everyone’s got land, but we’ve got land situated right next to the biggest city in the world,” Astorino says.
In early September, Amazon announced a search for a new headquarters, a full equal to its Seattle headquarters. Amazon plans to invest more than $5 billion in construction and operation of what it’s calling HQ2, and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. Regions around the country have been considering bids, including the Springfield-Hartford corridor. Astorino says Westchester also offers Amazon value.
“And no other location offers proximity to New York City but with office space that is half the cost,” Astorino says. “And it’s no accident that we’ve got global business giants like IBM and PepsiCo, Regeneron and Mastercard and so many others that have their world headquarters right here in our county.”
Astorino says the county’s economic development team is working with state officials to offer a number of incentives and put together a package. Fannie Aleman is president of the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“So we have a really diverse workforce in Westchester,” says Aleman. “We have a lot of professionals. We have a lot of businesses, many professional services that actually can help promote this huge, humongous enterprise for Amazon.”
William Mooney, Jr., is president and CEO of the Westchester County Association. He touted the abundance of space available along the I-287 corridor as well as connectivity.
“We are in the process, meaning the county and the cities are in the process of deploying gigabit speed to 500,000 businesses and residents in the area,” Mooney says. “That’s a big draw for a lot of people, there’s no question about it, particularly a company like Amazon.”
“This is obviously the Super Bowl. I mean, it’s Amazon,” says Astorino. “When you’ve got one of the biggest and best companies in the world potentially looking at your location, you’ve got to go for it, and we’re going for it.”
Proposals are due by October 19, with site selection in 2018.