Thursday is the deadline for bids for Amazon.com Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) second U.S. headquarters. Among the numerous communities vying for the $5 billion project, which could bring 50,000 new jobs over the next 20 years, are Indianapolis, Gary and Hammond.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says her city’s bid was submitted Wednesday, exactly one month after plans for the bid were announced. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Freeman-Wilson says officials from Gary and other parts of northwest Indiana worked tirelessly to prepare their response to Amazon’s Request for Proposals.
"We understand that this is a massive undertaking," said Freeman-Wilson. "When you talk about up to 50,000 employees, when you talk about a diverse group of employees, then you want to provide many options (including) the option to live in the city, the option to live in the suburbs, the option to live in a large city, the option to live in a small town and that’s what northwest Indiana provides to Amazon’s employees."
The mayor says the overall feedback to Gary’s bid has been positive and has placed the city in a different light in the business community, particularly in terms of commercial real estate and site selection. She says even if Gary is not selected for the project, the bid allows other companies to look at the city and understand what its assets are. "This has been not just an exercise, but something that will benefit us in the long term."
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness are leading the charge for central Indiana to be the home of the new headquarters. When the plan to submit a bid was announced in September, the mayors said they would assemble a team of tech, business and community leaders to develop central Indiana’s bid.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Indianapolis-based KSM Location Advisors Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and President Katie Culp said central Indiana could put together a compelling bid for the project, though having the winning bid could be a long shot. You can view the interview in the video above.
The city of Hammond also filed its bid Wednesday. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the city is proposing the former State Line Generating Plant property, located on the coast of Lake Michigan, as a potential site. The publication says the 77-acre site was shut down in 2012.
"Although I think our chance is minuscule, I didn’t feel right about passing up an opportunity like this even with a very small chance of success," Mayor Thomas McDermott told The Times. "It doesn’t hurt to try, even though we realize our chances are a long shot."
A specific timeline for a decision from Amazon is unknown. The RFP only states that a decision will be made in 2018.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says city and regional officials worked tirelessly on the bid.