America Bids on Amazon
Help us finance the release of records from cities bidding on Amazon’s new headquarters.
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In September, Amazon announced it would be searching for a second home: a new headquarters, replete with 50,000 high-paying jobs and an expected $5 billion investment in construction. But instead of doing the searching themselves, Amazon requested proposals from cities and regions interested in the offer, creating a flurry of submissions from coast to coast.
News coverage has focused on the wild publicity stunts that towns are pulling to get noticed: giant Amazon boxes, Twitter campaigns, a mail-order cactus. What we really want to know, though, is what financial and community incentives these places want to give to Amazon.
Amazon specifically requested financial incentives in the request for proposals:
“A stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure will be high-priority considerations for the Project. Incentives offered by the state/province and local communities to offset initial capital outlay and ongoing operational costs will be significant factors in the decision-making process.“
Newark, New Jersey, for one, responded with an offer of around $7 billion in tax incentives. That’s just one of the 238 proposals Amazon announced it has received, but the company isn’t telling where they’re all from. In order to understand what other cities are offering Amazon, we need to get into the nitty-gritty details of every bid.
The Seattle Times tracked which places publicly announced they were in the running, and we used their database to request as many bids as we could. But we’re still trying to figure out where more than a hundred bids came from.
Small Red - No Responsive Documents
Large Red - Rejected
Small Yellow - Awaiting Acknowledgement
Large Yellow - Awaiting Response
Small Blue - Fix Required
Small Green - Partially Completed
Large Green - Completed
Large Purple - Payment Required
Small Purple - Processing
And we can’t do it without you! Is there someplace that you know submitted a bid that we’ve missed? Did you notice something in a bid that we didn’t? Let us know via the form below, by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.
Digital rights and transparency advocacy group Lucy Parsons Labs filed suit last week against the city of Chicago, stating that the Mayor’s Office refusal to release documents regarding the city’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters constituted a “willful violation of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.”
As the hype grows around the #AmazonHQ2 finalists announced last week, it’s worth perusing the proposals that didn’t make the cut to get a sense of what cities across America were offering.
The growing global retailer Amazon has announced the 20 finalists for its challenge to secure homefield rights for its second headquarters. We take a look at the responses to our requests for those areas.
Since launching our project to hunt down every proposal Amazon received for its second headquarters, we’ve found that a number of cities were more than happy to share what they’re offering to lure in the tech giant. A growing number, however, aren’t so keen and are keeping their bids hidden in a shroud of exemptions. Here’s a look at which cities rejected our request and why.
With so much competition for Amazon’s second home, cities across the country are shelling out to stand out. In a request for HQ2 bids, Worcester Economic Development revealed they spent $9,800 to produce a promotional video for their headquarter proposal.
Towns across the nation aren’t just offering Amazon decades of property tax-free residency. Some also spent taxpayer dollars to put together the bids for Amazon’s second headquarters. Fresno, California spent $1,000 for the promotional video they had made. Camden County, New Jersey, authorized spending up to $40,000 on the bid’s design, renderings, videos and more from an architecture firm. On the other hand, many places spent nothing at all.
How San Francisco’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters does - and doesn’t - discuss gentrification
The tech-filled San Francisco Bay Area bidded on Amazon’s second headquarters, without giving much attention to how much that headquarters would gentrify some of the last remaining affordable spaces in the Bay.
This week, in absurd and illegal requests, Maine’s Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority said that MuckRock is required to pay $750 because we opened the email they sent with their 37-page bid for Amazon second headquarters.
Massachusetts towns are disclosing their bids for Amazon’s second headquarters, when many places across the country refuse to. Everywhere from Halifax, Canada to Los Angeles is vying for Amazon’s heart (and dollars) in the semi-public bidding war started in September, but many towns across the country won’t disclose what they’re offering Amazon in return for the second headquarters.
So far, 20+ towns and states have released their bids for Amazon’s second headquarters to MuckRock, and we want to know what the bids mean for your place. We’re going to work on compiling a database that aggregates the information from the bids, but there’s a lot of details in the bids that we’d miss because we’re not locals - that’s where you come in.
By now, you’ve all heard that Amazon is opening a second headquarters, and towns and states across the country are courting the tech giant for the 50,000 jobs and $5 billion Amazon is offering. But what are these places offering Amazon? And what does that mean for your town?
We want to know what every single city offered Amazon as incentive for the second headquarters. We’ve requested bids from a little over 100 places - that leaves another 100+ bids we don’t know about. That’s where you come in.
Adanya Lustig sent this request to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) of Washington, DC
Adanya Lustig sent this request to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development of Massachusetts
Adanya Lustig sent this request to the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development of Somerville, MA