BUSINESS & ECONOMY

New Jersey cities submit bids to attract Amazon HQ2

BY Rhonda Schaffler, Correspondent |

An escalating intercity fight for Amazon’s second headquarters and the high paying jobs and taxes that would come with it. Gov. Chris Christie is backing Newark’s bid with a near-record $7 billion in tax incentives. But, other Jersey cities are pitching Amazon as well. Rhonda Schaffler looks at the deals they’re offering.

“So, we put two sites forward directly on the waterfront, open land. We think we have the most compelling offer of anybody. I don’t think anybody can point to the proximity to the New York metro area, the transportation access that we have, and, of course, the type of energy that’s in Jersey City is certainly unique for New Jersey and maybe anywhere in the country. So we are going to be strong and competitive,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

Take that, Newark. While Christie gave the state’s blessing to Newark, at least five major cities, including Jersey City, say they are submitting bids to Amazon Thursday, which was the deadline.

“We’re not deterred from submitting Camden’s application and lobbying for Amazon to take a look at all of the developable land that we have ready to go, that is shovel ready in the city of Camden,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd.

There’s shovel ready land in New Brunswick, too. So, the Hub City is tossing its hat into the ring.

“This is big deal. Amazon.com coming to your state, or to your city or region, as a possibility is fantastic,” said Jeffrey Robinson, academic director of Rutgers Business School.

Several New Jersey cities believe they meet Amazon’s requirements, which include being close to a big population center, an airport and mass transit. The greater Trenton area is pitching 14 million square feet of space.

“We welcome the opportunity to accommodate Amazon in Mercer County and to have them benefit from our tremendous assets, including our workforce, parks system and the Trenton-Mercer Airport,” said Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes.

Bayonne hopes a million dollar view will win over Amazon.

“Bayonne can offer Amazon 200-plus acres of land on the former Military Ocean Terminal, with stunning views of Manhattan and New York Harbor. Bayonne meets or exceeds everything that Amazon is looking for,” said Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis.

But the one thing all of these cities don’t have is $7 billion in tax incentives, which could be the city of Newark’s biggest selling point, or not.

“The tax incentives, while relevant, I don’t think are going to be the one single factor that drives them to any location in the country. So we’re going to be making the argument based on the assets that we have and we’re not going to be relying on tax incentives as the sole reason to come to Jersey City,” said Fulop.

Of course, all of New Jersey’s cities aren’t just competing against each other, they are competing against more than 100 other cities that have submitted bids. So the bottom line is if Amazon picks any New Jersey city, it would be a big win for the Garden State. Amazon won’t make its decision until next year.