Worcester Prime

city bids for Amazon’s second home

Drashhti Bilimoria, Scarlet Staff

In early September, online retail giant Amazon announced that they were soliciting bids from interested cities to build its second headquarters in North America, the first to be built outside of Seattle. Preferred qualifications for cities looking to submit a bid for Amazon’s HQ2 include a population of at least 1 million people, an international airport, and a “friendly business environment.” In addition, Amazon has stated it will favor cities submitting bids to be in metropolitan areas as well as those that provide easy access to mass transport. Bidders who submit potential layouts are given an advantage. Amazon plans to invest over $5 billion and create 50,000 jobs for its second headquarters, and expect tax benefits among other incentives in return. Bids were due last Thursday, and over 100 cities sent in bids to become the location of Amazon’s new HQ2. The long list of cities includes Atlanta, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston – and Worcester.

Worcester began its bid by highlighting that Worcester, unlike most major cities, offers not one, but nine colleges and universities (not to mention the three additional area colleges) including Clark University. This would provide Amazon with a young and eager workforce, while also offering students (including deserving Clarkies) with job opportunities and internships before and after graduation. Clark’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program hosts a U-reka! Big Idea Challenge to help students build onto their big business ideas. This could provide Amazon with new ideas to endorse and offers Clarkies a way to market their ideas to big companies. To further the connection between Amazon and Worcester area universities, Worcester pointed out that Joe Quinlivan, the president and CEP of Amazon Robotics, received his Master’s Degree from WPI and now serves on the board of WPI’s robotics program. What better way to deepen this connection and expand to include more students than to set up a new headquarters in the same city?

Worcester also emphasized its sustainable living advances. The Worcester Sustainability Hub is a 2,220-square foot plot that allows for interactive education and is the largest smart grid plot in Massachusetts. The land was donated by Clark University and is expected to save Worcester – and possibly Amazon – $60 million dollars.

If Amazon were to choose Worcester as the location for their new headquarters, it would benefit not only university students, but would lead to growth in the city of Worcester as well. Worcester has promised to provide Amazon with a 1 million dollar job creation rate if Amazon

offered a minimum of 100 full time jobs for lower income Worcester residents within the first three years of operation in Worcester.

Worcester is only an hour away from Boston, providing Amazon and its workers with easy access to Boston area attractions and higher institutions – Harvard, MIT, and Boston University – while avoiding the overcrowdedness Boston is known for (it pulled out from offering to host the Olympics due to concerns about even longer commute times). In addition, Worcester offers proximity to five international and local airports, allowing Amazon a variety of transport options.

Amazon plans to release its decision in 2018. Let’s hope that Worcester can become Amazon’s second home!