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- Amazon is sending a lobbyist to Georgia before the start of the state’s legislative session next month.
- The move has spurred rumors that Amazon could pick Atlanta as the site for the company’s $5 billion second headquarters, known as HQ2.
- Though Georgia’s bid has not yet been made public, Governor Nathan Deal has implied that the state is aggressively pursuing HQ2 with economic and infrastructure incentives.
The move has spurred a flurry of rumors in economic development circles that Amazon could choose Atlanta as the site for HQ2.
Though Georgia officials have not publicly revealed its proposal, Governor Nathan Deal has implied that the state is aggressively pursuing HQ2 with incentives, and that its proposal is a big one.
The bid includes urban and suburban sites, and emphasizes the region’s transit and airport facilities, workforce, and research universities, Atlanta’s Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce Tom Croteau told the agency’s board of directors at a recent meeting in Midtown Atlanta.
“We have some to the north, some to the south, and some both to the east and to the west,” Croteau said.
In Amazon’s RFP, the company wrote that it requires 500,000 to 750,000 square feet immediately and up to 8 million square feet by 2027. In Atlanta, existing buildings could be renovated or new ones could be built. This fall, developers and local governments submitted around 70 Atlanta-area sites to state officials, according to The AP.
Sources have reportedly told The Atlanta Business Chronicle that the Gulch – a 120-acre area with railroads and parking lots in Downtown Atlanta – is the city’s “primary site” for HQ2.
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At a recent city event, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also said the state and city are offering incentives and infrastructure improvements that total well more than $1 billion.
“On the city side alone, we put forth more incentives than we’ve ever put forward in the history of the city,” Reed said. “This is an Olympic moment … This is a singular moment for Atlanta.”
The lobbyist, Jacob Oster, specializes in energy policies at Amazon, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before Oster came to Amazon, he served as the senior director of regulatory and government affairs at EnergySavvy, a startup that sells customer service software to power-utility providers.
In October, Amazon received 238 proposals across 54 cities, states, and regions. The competition for HQ2 is fierce, and many cities have bent over backwards to attract the company in their bids – from $7 billion in tax breaks to an offer to rename itself “Amazon.” According to one recent analysis, Atlanta is a likely candidate.
Amazon will make its decision in 2018.