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Boston submits proposal for Amazon's second headquarters

October 20, 2017

Economic Development

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Economic Development

Mayor Walsh, in partnership with Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, announced a proposal that celebrates everything the City of Boston has to offer.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in partnership with Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, today announced that a formal proposal has been submitted by the City of Boston and the City of Revere in response to Amazon's request for proposals for their second corporate headquarters in North America (HQ2). The proposal celebrates the talented workforce, diverse communities, strong connectivity and transportation infrastructure, and culture of innovation in Boston and the surrounding region. The proposal also relies on the goals outlined in Imagine Boston 2030, a comprehensive citywide plan released on July 21, as a roadmap for growing inclusively with Amazon.

"We are excited to present the best of Boston to Amazon, with support from leaders in the educational, business and philanthropic communities and our neighbors in Revere, as the company considers locations for their second corporate headquarters in North America," said Mayor Walsh. "With the recent completion of the first citywide plan in decades, this is a unique opportunity to build on the strengths and act on the goals set by residents in Imagine Boston 2030 to grow inclusively. Boston is a thriving city and we invite Amazon to grow with us."

According to Amazon, the company expects to, "invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs" over the next 15 years, in addition to, "tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."

Boston has added more than 60,000 new jobs since 2014, the annual unemployment rate decreased from 6.1 percent in 2013 to 3.4 percent in 2016, and the city was recently nationally ranked as the best city for fostering entrepreneurial growth and innovation for the second year in a row by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

"Boston's business community has a long history of successfully working closely with the city and state as allies united in creating solutions that drive economic development and generate economic opportunity for people and businesses," said James. E. Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

The proposal features Boston's strengths, from a highly-educated workforce to its representation as a global community, with 29 percent of the population being foreign born and representing over 100 countries. Boston is an innovative city with a strong and growing economy and the city celebrates being a national leader in many areas, including access to parks and open space, walkability, commercial fiber connectivity, and energy efficiency.

"Our universities provide the intellectual infrastructure - the ideas, solutions, technologies, and talent that fuel growth, and attract startups and established companies - that makes our region a competitive place for Amazon's next venture, and for the future generations of thinkers and creators who will live, study, and work here," said Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust.

"Northeastern University today is the only university with campuses in both Boston and Seattle, helping to produce a pipeline of talent for firms like Amazon," said Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun. "With ready access to talent, venture capital, and guided by a singular entrepreneurial ethos, Boston is poised to further help Amazon shape the digital economy of the future."

The proposal underscores how Boston is experiencing an economic and population boom, with approximately 724,000 residents projected to live in the City of Boston by 2030. Boston's rapid growth has created a high demand for housing, which the city is addressing by committing to adding 53,000 new units of housing by 2030. To date, 22,000 units have been built or are under construction and 25,300 additional housing units are in the pipeline, as outlined in the city's housing plan "Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030."

The proposal also invites Amazon to engage with the City of Boston as a long-term partner in supporting workforce training, innovation and small businesses among other potential opportunities for collaboration.

Suffolk Downs is featured in the proposal as a single-owner, transit-friendly, 160-acre open canvas that is close to the waterfront, the airport, and downtown, and served by two existing Blue Line stations. Identified in Imagine Boston 2030 as a transformational opportunity for a new mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood with significant potential for investment in Boston and Revere, Suffolk Downs is one of the largest development sites in the Northeast and, in addition to meeting Amazon's current goals for HQ2, has the flexibility to evolve with the ever-changing needs of the company.

"I'm elated about the prospect of Amazon locating its HQ2 in Massachusetts," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "I was proud to collaborate with the City of Boston on this proposal and I thank Mayor Walsh and Mayor Arrigo for their incredible leadership and insight. As someone who grew up in East Boston and who has represented Revere in the House for more than two decades, I believe that the Suffolk Downs site is an ideal fit. With our spirit of partnership, support for programs that prepare the innovators of tomorrow, and the remarkable logistical assets of Suffolk Downs, our proposal is uniquely suited to meet Amazon's specifications and bring jobs to our area."

"This is an opportunity to envision the future of Suffolk Downs and plan for a dynamic, mixed-use neighborhood that will serve as a revitalized anchor for Revere and Boston for decades to come, " Revere Mayor Arrigo said. "At Suffolk Downs, Amazon's HQ2 can be surrounded by retail, restaurants, recreational facilities, open space, and nightlife. This will be an optimal location to live, work and play."

The proposal also suggests potential sites in many other Boston neighborhoods that are well-positioned to be the home of HQ2, all of which have been identified for growth in Imagine Boston 2030. These additional sites are suggested in "clusters" and located in the South Boston Waterfront and downtown Boston; South End, Back Bay, Roxbury and Widett Circle; and Allston/Brighton to South Station. Any site chosen by Amazon for HQ2 would be required to go through local permitting and community processes, and proposals will likely evolve as a result of conversations with the community, Amazon and other stakeholders.

"City and state officials were true partners in our relocation, in everything from site selection to permitting our new campus," said Ann R. Klee, vice president of General Electric, who oversaw the company's relocation to Boston. "Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh worked with us every step of the way so we were able to break ground on our new campus in record time."

"Moving to Boston means moving to a city with unique neighborhoods and a passionate, innovative, and active community," said Matt O'Toole, brand president for Reebok. "Boston is a city that moves, and that movement brings the city to life." Reebok moved their headquarters to Boston this year.

The proposal does not include a specific offer of tax incentives, and instead communicates the availability of these tools.The city uses local property tax incentives when projects face specific challenges or create unique opportunities in providing significant new jobs and investment in underdeveloped areas. The appropriateness of incentives is determined by the unique details of individual projects.

To view the full proposal for Amazon HQ2, please visit amazon.boston.gov.