The Real Deal Miami

“They know how to reach us.” Rejected Amazon HQ2 suitors may give it another try

Chicago, Miami, Newark and Dallas among those willing to restart talks following e-commerce giant's New York breakup
By Katherine Kallergis | February 15, 2019 08:45AM

Top to bottom: Chicago, Miami, Newark, Dallas, and Jeff Bezos recieving phone calls (Credit: Getty Images, Pixabay, and Wikipedia)

What about now?

They may have been rejected once, but they’re not giving up. At least a handful of cities that had been in the running for Amazon’s second headquarters said they would be willing to restart talks after the e-commerce giant’s stunning news it had pulled out of plans for New York City.

Some of those cities that reached the Top 20 but missed out on the big prize — Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Austin among them — responded to the news with a glimmer of hope, while remaining realistic.

“They know how to reach us and they know all that Dallas and our people have to offer,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. The mayor said his city will “continue to keep the lines of communication open.” But the canceled plans for New York, he said, “should not be taken as a sign that anything imminent will be happening with Amazon in Dallas.”

Amazon, which cited mounting political opposition as a reason to back out of developing a headquarters in Long Island City, said it has no plans to reopen the HQ2 search “at this time.” Instead, the Seattle-based company will move forward with its second headquarters in Northern Virginia, and an expansion in Nashville, Tennessee. “We will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada,” Amazon said on its company blog.

Across the Hudson River, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he would welcome Amazon. “New Jersey is open for business, and now more than ever, Newark is the clear choice as the next presence for Amazon corporate offices,” he said in a statement. In its ultimately unsuccessful bid, Newark had been considering offering up to $1 billion in tax breaks to help lure Amazon.

In New York, the major issue was the $3 billion in state and city tax incentives Amazon was set to receive for setting up in Queens.

For Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, there was a lot of confidence and no talk of tax incentives.

The mayor said his county maintains it is the “ideal location” for HQ2 as the gateway to the Americas. The 27-acre Miami Worldcenter was the proposed second headquarters site for South Florida. “We have the talent, technology and low taxes that would serve Amazon’s needs, if they chose to reengage,” Gimenez said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Texas, a spokesperson for the Austin Chamber of Commerce was all but resigned to the inevitable. No one from Amazon had called, but the chamber was “always open to working with companies that want to consider doing business and creating jobs for families in Central Texas.”

But in Chicago, hope was alive and well. Last week, after reading a report about the potential about-face, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker “immediately called Amazon,” he has said. On Thursday, Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were again ready to work with Amazon following news New York had been dumped.

In a letter addressed to the Everything Store, the two politicians wrote that “Chicago, our surrounding communities and the state of Illinois remain ready to welcome HQ2 to our city, and to ensure a smooth and successful transition and launch.” And in a reference to the opposition that led to Amazon’s departure from New York, Pritzker and Emanuel noted Illinois’ “new commitment to bipartisanship…We will be happy to bring you back.”

Erin Hudson and John O’Brien contributed to this report.