Boston Submits an Amazon Bid

By Matthew Grady 10/29/17

Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, in collaboration with Revere’s Mayor, Brian Arrigo, submitted a proposal to Amazon, which shows off Boston and the surrounding region, in hopes the company decides to base its second North American headquarters there.

This proposal consists of 218 pages and also includes two videos.

Mayor Walsh believes having the headquarters in Massachusetts could be a “unique opportunity” for the region. He said that he welcomes Amazon alongside “leaders in the educational, business and philanthropic communities and our neighbors in Revere.”

One video in the proposal pushes Suffolk Downs as the prime area for Amazon to set up shop. It states that it is a “central location,” and displays the availability of transportation, which includes two Blue Line stations and an airport. The area is featured as one of the largest development sites in the northeast, and is shown as having enough flexibility to keep up with Amazon’s needs.

This bid lists the possible benefits to Amazon by being around local universities. Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun. voiced his support for the company’s arrival and said, “Boston is poised to further help Amazon shape the digital economy of the future.”

But what does this mean for the region?

Amazon’s arrival is spurring Mayor Walsh to meet many of Boston’s goals which are shown in Imagine Boston 2030. The proposal states, “[Imagine Boston 2030] lays the framework and vision for our future. We will guide our growth as Amazon continues to increase its presence in Boston.” These goals include fostering a more productive economy, integrating more technology into the city, dealing with housing affordability, and focusing on remedying economic inequality in Boston.

Amazon promises to invest over $5 billion dollars into this headquarters and create 50,000 jobs in the next 15 years.

Other cities are still fighting to be Amazon’s pick. New Jersey has proposed $7 billion in potential tax incentives to the company; and a city in California is considering a $400 million incentive package. Other than the transportation improvements, Massachusetts has not proposed any tax breaks or other financial incentives for Amazon.

What could happen if Amazon comes here?

For a comparison, look no further than Seattle, WA, the site of Amazon’s other headquarters. When the company moved there, the city initially experienced a boom in economic and population growth. However, housing costs increased, prices soared for small businesses, and many transportation problems occurred.

The region is left with a hefty price tag if Amazon decides to accept. The bid calls for state and federal transportation improvements, which would cost nearly $1 billion dollars. State transportation officials however, haven’t declared that Massachusetts can pay for this.

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