'Nothing to lose': New Britain makes pitch for Amazon HQ2

Published on Monday, 6 November 2017 22:03
Written by Skyler Frazer

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN - Since Amazon announced it will open a second headquarters in North America, the company has received 238 proposals from cities and areas across the continent.

One of those proposals came from New Britain.

“We have nothing to lose,” Mayor Erin Stewart said of the city’s proposal.

On Oct. 19, the city sent a 15-page proposal to Amazon, highlighting the city’s location, economic development and proximity to Central Connecticut State University.

Economic Development Director Bill Carroll helped draft the proposal.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of offers going back to them with the perfect scenario of what they’re looking for,” Carroll said. “When we sat down we said, ‘We might not have exactly what they’re looking for, but we do have some stuff we can offer.’ ”

Amazon announced in September the company was looking for a location for another headquarters in North America, Amazon HQ2. The company said the new headquarters will be a full equal to its current campus in Seattle.

“We expect to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs,” reads part of a statement on Amazon’s website. “In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”

In the proposal, the city listed a few locations as potential sites for Amazon’s next headquarters.

“We looked at this as an interesting opportunity to reuse the Stanley Works property. It’s a large campus and you can build up as well,” Stewart said.

“It offers a lot of opportunity, too, with the amount of total square footage they have,” Carroll added.

The city also listed the remaining 25 to 30 acres at Pinnacle Business Park as a possible location.

CCSU was also a big part of the city’s proposal to Amazon.

“We have Central Connecticut State University in our backyard, which has the engineering school, the science and technology school, which is all what the Amazon workforce is geared around,” Stewart said. “That’s what they’re looking for: an ability to create a pipeline from college to career.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy submitted an official proposal for the new headquarters on behalf of the state in October, naming sites in the Hartford and Stamford regions as possible locations for Amazon HQ2. This came after more than a dozen municipalities, including New Britain, expressed interest.

Following Malloy’s decision to pitch Hartford and Stamford to the company, many municipalities including New Britain and Danbury decided to go forward with their own proposals.

“It was hands down, crystal clear. They already knew the communities that they wanted to submit a proposal on behalf of,” Stewart said. “It is what it is. We knew that we wanted to submit something on our own anyways because knew that we have a lot to offer.”

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at sfrazer@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Business, General News, New Britain on Monday, 6 November 2017 22:03. Updated: Monday, 6 November 2017 22:05.