SoCal cities are competing to build Amazon’s HQ — will there be a lucky winner?

Deadline for cities to submit bids is Thursday

Oct.October 18, 2017 05:30 PM
Rendering of proposed redevelopment for the former Orange County Register headquarters, with Jeff Bezos (Gensler via LAT/Getty)

With cities throughout the nation competing for Amazon’s second headquarters, Southern California is refusing to be left behind.

At least five cities in the sunny region are offering up bids to convince chief executive Jeff Bezos to move his company’s second headquarters to their area, the Los Angeles Times reported. The push comes after Bezos announced the e-commerce giant was looking for new office digs last month.

The contest has attracted Irvine, Santa Ana, San Diego, Los Angeles and Pomona, in addition to several other cities in the L.A. County. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who would not disclose which sites are in the bid, has repeatedly supported the efforts. Governor Jerry Brown even wrote a letter to the CEO vouching for his state. Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. is coordinated the regional effort.

Irvine Co., chaired by the richest real estate mogul in the country, Donald Bren, is expected to submit a combined bid with the city of Irvine. Other potential sites include the former Orange County Register headquarters near the 5 Freeway, and a portion of Boeing’s Huntington Beach campus.

But the online retailer is mainly searching for tax credits in its location scouting, and California isn’t likely to provide the most appealing package. The company also said it is looking for top-notch university systems and enough land to accommodate 8 million square feet and 50,000 employees.

In his letter to Bezos, the governor mentioned Amazon could qualify for up to $200 million as part of the California Competes Tax Credit program and up to $100 million in workforce training funds. A multi-agency “strike team” would also help the company speed through permits.

That’s pea-sized compared to New Jersey’s $7 billion tax incentive package offered. Cities are getting creative with their proposals, as well. Most of the main buildings in New York City will light up orange on Wednesday evening to show support for the city’s bid, one economic development group in Tucson sent Bezos a 21-foot-tall cactus and the mayor of Kansas City, Mo. even purchased and reviewed 1,000 items from Amazon. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman

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