Amazon HQ image via flickr user Robert Scoble.
Written by Gabriel Dillard
This may be a shock to those Fresnans who are eternal optimists, but Fresno did not make a list of 20 finalist sites for Amazon’s second headquarters.
In fact, the West Coast in general got the cold shoulder from the Seattle-based e-commerce juggernaut, with Los Angeles the only California city on the list.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand took the news in stride Thursday morning.
“It was a long shot to begin with. We did the best we could to be innovative and out of box, competing against cities and regions that were throwing billions of dollars at Amazon.”
It did garner Fresno national press coverage, which can be considered a bit of a win considering some of the goofy stunts other cities pulled. For example, Stonecrest, Georgia intended to create a brand new city called Amazon. Tucson, Arizona, sent Amazon a 21-foot saguaro cactus (which Amazon ultimately returned).
Gary, Indiana, even took out a full-page ad in the business section of The New York Times pleading with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to consider the city (which may have been the wrong tact since Bezos owns The Washington Post, one of the NY Times major rivals.)
Fresno instead opted to give Amazon officials a seat at the table in spending some of the tax dollars to be generated by its presence. It included a 100-year agreement that would’ve placed 85 percent of every tax dollar into a fund that would be jointly controlled by city leaders and Amazon executives to provide amenities and infrastructure for the estimated 50,000 workers the project is estimated to create.
But coverage is coverage, and it has an effect that will ultimately only help Brand’s quest to create 10,000 local jobs within eight years.
“It put Fresno on the jobs map for corporate America,” he said. “It creates momentum, inertia.”
As for Fresno’s proposal, it does seem like the type of carrot that would be strung in front of only the largest corporate site selectors. On Wednesday, Apple announced its intentions to open a second campus that could create 20,000 jobs.
Brand was quick to note that Silicon Valley — where apple is headquartered — will only be 45 minutes away via high-speed rail.
Here are the top 20 Amazon HQ2 finalists:
Montgomery County, Md.
New York City