Bridgeport, Hartford bidding for Amazon’s second headquarters

Corporate giant Amazon announced they are on the hunt for a new location to call home for a second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.  Along with cities across North America, there are at least three Connecticut communities that have shown interest in putting in a bid for the facility.

“It’s just a huge opportunity that we don’t want to pass up,” Bridgeport’s Mayor Joseph Ganim said, adding he believes the city is a viable candidate for the headquarters.

Amazon outlined some of the features they are expecting bidding cities to have in order to house HQ2, including a plethora of space.  The company said they need a metro area with more than a million people that can also uphold a facility that could potential expand to roughly eight million square feet over the next decade.

“What we would say is, how much do you want on one level, two levels, five or 10, and build that in,” Mayor Ganim said of the expansion requirement.  The mayor added the city’s bid would offer up areas beyond the city limits and into parts of Fairfield County.

“What we’ll do what we think are some of the best things that will put us in the best position to hopefully be selected,” Mayor Ganim explained.  He also highlighted what he sees as some of the city’s features that might make it a competitive bid.

“Our proximity to not just to rail and highway and airport, but to metropolitan New York, our coastline, our Universities, our workforce,” he said.

Mayor Ganim’s hope to be a competitive bid is shared by Mayor Luke Bronin in Hartford.

“This time next year we’re going to have commuter rail connecting south to New Haven, north to Springfield,” Mayor Bronin said.

Mayor Bronin pointed out Hartford is among other Connecticut cities that meet several of Amazon’s requested criteria for HQ2, including the company’s want for a location in proximity to an international airport and its ability to attract top technical talent.

Mayor Bronin argued, however, that the opportunity to be seen as a competitive metropolitan is raising issues related to a bigger picture.

“I’m making the bigger point that Connecticut should be competing for opportunities like this, but for us to compete we’re going to have to think of ourselves differently in all of our metro areas,” Mayor Bronin said.

Hartford city leaders recently pointed out to state leaders that without a state budget they are close to no longer being able to pay their bills and are potentially 60 days away from needing to file for bankruptcy.  Mayor Bronin emphasized that solving the city’s financial issues and being seen as a competitor in the eyes of big name companies, like Amazon, are one in the same.

“It’s recognizing that you cannot be a competitive state if you’ve taken a 3 and a half million state and broken it up into 169 municipalities that duplicate every service and don’t work together,” Mayor Bronin explained.

Along with Bridgeport and Hartford, New Haven also confirmed to FOX61 Monday they are exploring the option to submit a bid for the headquarters.

Mayor Toni Harp sent FOX61 the following statement:

“New Haven has been a welcoming commercial hub throughout its 379-year history; it would provide Amazon with advantageous market access, a tech-savvy talent pool, and excellent transportation options,” Mayor Toni N. Harp said. “The prospect of an Amazon presence in Connecticut presents an exciting opportunity – New Haven is eager to explore its potential role and help make it happen.”

Any interested city across the nation has until October 19th to submit an initial bid to Amazon.  The $5 billion facility is expected to bring in 50,000 new jobs over a 15 year period.

The company’s first headquarters in Seattle boasts 33 buildings and 24 restaurants or cafes.  It covers 8.1 million square feet.

The company said that while it would hire teams and executives for the new location, employees who currently work in Seattle would be offered the chance to relocate.

Amazon already has a presence in Connecticut with facilities in Windsor and Wallingford and one coming soon in North Haven.