October 20, 2017

Greater Hartford boldly pitches assets in Amazon HQ2 bid

The State of Connecticut
The State of Connecticut
A map of the possible location of Amazon's proposed second headquarters as proposed by Greater Hartford.

Greater Hartford's competitive bid for Amazon's second headquarters touts its value as an affordable, talent-filled transportation hub that boasts both a sustainability plan and nearby international airport -- two of the online retail giant's key requirements.

The cities of East Hartford and Hartford -- the latter of which has been open about its fiscal challenges and the possibility of filing for bankruptcy -- have teamed up in a bid to land Amazon's second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.

They, with the help of state officials, officially submitted their application Thursday, which was the deadline established by Amazon. Stamford also submitted a state-sanctioned application. With Amazon's second headquarters located in either Hartford or Stamford, Connecticut would see a $500 billion increase in its GDP over the next quarter-century, state officials said.

The state has set up websites pitching both the Hartford and Stamford regions. Greater Hartford is described as both an "eclectic" and "charming" destination -- deemed one of only 19 "Knowledge Capitals" worldwide by the Brookings Institution -- that offers "a larger labor force than many other metro areas, one of the highest academic concentrations in the nation, and a cost of living 15 percent to 50 percent below other Northeast cities."

"We're inviting Amazon to reinvent with us – to create a campus bridging both banks of the historic Connecticut River, and to be part of our great city's revival," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin via email. "But beyond the attractiveness of the site itself, the real power of our application is the strength of our region."

Specifics in the application sent to Amazon Thursday by the state of Connecticut on behalf of the city include developable site availability both east and west of the Connecticut River, spanning downtown Hartford and East Hartford.

The application also highlights the region's array of colleges and universities, the CTfastrak rapid transit bus system and walkable bike friendly neighborhoods. A Hartford Climate Stewardship Initiative is a climate action plan focused on energy, food, landscape, transportation, waste and water needs.

In September, Amazon announced plans to open a second company headquarters in North America to complement its headquarters in Seattle. Cities across the country are competing as Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow the site to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

Competing cities had until Thursday to submit confidential applications to Amazon.

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