State Officials Release Bid to Amazon Touting 26 Potential Sites
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 20, 2017...From the home of the New England Patriots to a mall in Leominster to oceanfront property in Lynn, 26 different sites in Massachusetts want to host Amazon's second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs that will accompany it, according to a proposal state officials released Friday.
Rather than backing one specific site, the bid touts the state as a whole, highlighting its "unparalleled constellation of 125 colleges and universities" and the workforce those institutions can provide.
Without making specific offers to Amazon, the bid highlights the state's "broad array of financial programs to attract private investment and to promote innovation and job creation."
The document showcases the state's Economic Development Incentive Program tax credit, the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, the Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) Program and investments made through the state's capital plan. Recent recipients of state investments are described, including the Cambridge campus of EF, the Lowell headquarters of Kronos and City Square in Worcester.
"Massachusetts creates a favorable business environment for companies to launch, grow, and thrive by keeping our tax structure fair and predictable, managing our state budget wisely, and making targeted investments for the future," the bid says before mentioning tax credits for hiring veterans, investment, research and development, and brownfields redevelopment.
State officials noted that Amazon already employs "thousands" of people in Massachusetts at locations such as Amazon Robotics in North Reading, fulfillment centers in Fall River and Stoughton, a research-and-development office in Cambridge, and at an office expected to open in Fort Point, Boston.
If Amazon were to choose Massachusetts as its next home, the tax structure the online retail behemoth faces on move-in day could look quite different from what's outlined in the pitch.
Voters are set to decide next year whether to impose a surtax on incomes in excess of $1 million, and retailers are gathering signatures for a potential 2018 ballot question to lower the sales tax back to its old 5 percent rate. Other potential questions would implement a paid family and medical leave program in Massachusetts and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The document includes testimonials from Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, the University of Massachusetts, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and General Electric -- which moved its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Boston in a deal involving up to $120 million in infrastructure improvements from the state and $25 million in local tax breaks.
Ann Klee, the vice president of GE's Boston development and operations, said the company was impressed by "the strong bipartisan working relationship between Governor Baker, Mayor [Martin] Walsh, and their respective teams."
Walsh is running for re-election next month and Baker has not yet announced his political plans - the governor's office is on the ballot in November 2018.
Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook while attending Harvard University and later moved the company to California, wrote, "If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston."
While state officials deferred to local officials to promote and submit their own plans, the depth of the bid shows the state has been working on it for a while - the bid document runs 182 pages.
For each site local officials proposed, the state bid breaks down the transit options and the nearby population, showing the number of millennials, computer and mathematics professionals and holders of advanced degrees within a 30-minute drive, 60-minute drive, and transit trip with no more than one transfer.
The sites listed are:
- Suffolk Downs, the South Boston waterfront, the "Harrison Albany Corridor" and the "Allston/Brighton to South Station Corridor" in Boston, each pitched separately
- Everett's Exxon Mobil site
- Patriot Place in Foxborough
- A regional proposal from Lawrence, Haverhill, Andover, Methuen and North Andover, centered around Osgood Landing
- Riverview Business Park and an adjacent campus in Billerica, Tewksbury and Lowell
- A 100-plus acre waterfront property in Lynn
- Centennial Park in Peabody
- Quincy's Fore River Shipyard
- A collection of "transit-oriented development sites along the Orange Line and the expanded Green Line" -- which is slated for completion in 2021 -- in Somerville.
- Union Point in Weymouth, Abington and Rockland
- 371 acres in Waltham
- Riverfront Park and Southcoast Life Science & Technology Park in Fall River
- A 114-acre municipally owned site in New Bedford
- 146 acres in Taunton
- 254 acres in Gardner
- Leominster's Mall at Whitney Field
- 100 Campus Drive in Marlborough
- Northborough's Crossroads Business park
- The EMC/Dell campus in Westborough
- Downtown Worcester
- Holyoke's Open Square
- Greylock Mills and Columbia Mills in Lee
- The William Stanley Business Park and adjoining GE properties in Pittsfield