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Amazon's short list for location of new HQ doesn't include NH

By MICHAEL COUSINEAU and DAVE SOLOMON
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 18. 2018 4:27PM
Amazon's campus in Seattle, Wash., photographed from the roof of Amazon's Port 99 building. Real-estate developers from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., are suggesting former shopping malls as prime locations for Amazon's next headquarters. (Jordan Stead/Amazon)


The cities that remain in the running are:
Atlanta, GA

Austin, TX

Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Columbus, OH

Dallas, TX

Denver, CO

Indianapolis, IN

Los Angeles, CA

Miami, FL

Montgomery County, MD

Nashville, TN

Newark, NJ

New York City, NY

Northern Virginia, VA

Philadelphia, PA

Pittsburgh, PA

Raleigh, NC

Toronto, ON

Washington D.C.

CONCORD — After the state dissed Boston in its pitch to lure Amazon's new headquarters, Gov. Chris Sununu is now rooting for Beantown.

"I hope Boston does land it," Sununu said Thursday after Amazon released a list of 20 finalists for its proposed new headquarters, with New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami and Austin, Texas, among the contenders.

"That would be a huge benefit to New Hampshire," Sununu said. "We're part of that greater region. There's no doubt there would be a lot of indirect benefits right here in New Hampshire if they were to locate in downtown Boston."

The benefits of Boston without all the headaches was the essence of New Hampshire's sales pitch — a line that raised some eyebrows.

Last September, Seattle-based Amazon solicited proposals for its second corporate seat, a project that's expected to cost more than $5 billion and create 50,000 high-paying jobs over the next 10 to 15 years. The company, which received proposals from 238 locations, expects to make its decision this year.

The work spent producing the state's pitch to Amazon already is paying dividends, especially for Londonderry's 603-acre site at the Woodmont Commons development, Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith said.

"I can tell you there have been other big name companies that have inquired about it since then to the extent if Amazon doesn't go there, we want to take a closer look," Smith said.

He agreed with the governor about rooting for Boston.

"If they were to choose Boston, part of that spillover effect is going to be people who live in New Hampshire who are going to work down there," he said. "It does create job opportunities for people who live in New Hampshire."

Woodmont Commons in Londonderry is located between Exit 4 and Exit 5 on I-93, just minutes from the Manchester/Boston Regional Airport. (COURTESY)

Ari Pollack, legal counsel for developer Pillsbury Realty Development LLC, which is developing Woodmont Commons, said the state's Amazon pitch "can be effectively recycled for other similar pitches and outreach" and called it "a comprehensive blueprint."

Taylor Caswell, New Hampshire's business and economic affairs commissioner, said the state has been wooing other companies with the marketing strategy it spent five weeks developing for Amazon.

"The Amazon experience has given New Hampshire a national soapbox for our message about our enterprise freedom, our low tax/small government environment, our highly educated workforce, and our unbeatable quality of life," Caswell said in a statement. "We will continue to take that message to companies every day, and I guarantee many of those companies will join those already here who understand the value of locating their businesses here in the strongest economy in the northeastern United States."

Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire urged New Hampshire leaders to make New Hampshire more attractive to businesses.

"We should take steps now to continue implementing pro-growth reforms to our tax code and energy policies — areas where we need to become more competitive to expand growth and economic opportunity," said state Director Greg Moore. "We should take steps now to continue implementing pro-growth reforms to our tax code and energy policies — areas where we need to become more competitive to expand growth and economic opportunity."

The New Hampshire Democratic Party reacted quickly to Boston being selected over the Granite State.

"In Rhode Island, they're celebrating Boston landing on #AmazonHQ2 shortlist because there's a 45-minute commuter rail from Providence to Boston. In New Hampshire, we're lamenting the GOP governor losing out on Amazon because he was unwilling to back rail," the party tweeted.

On Wednesday, Sununu said his decision to back funding of a commuter-rail study — a turnaround for the Republican — was fueled by the Amazon bid.

"I continue to have genuine concerns regarding the long-term, financial viability of such an expansive project," Sununu said then. "However, the recent process of drafting New Hampshire's groundbreaking Amazon proposal has demonstrated the need to study the potential options."

Finalist cities 

The Amazon finalist cities are: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Md.; Nashville, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; New York; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, North Carolina; Toronto; and Washington D.C.

"Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity," Holly Sullivan, of Amazon Public Policy, said in a statement. "Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation." 

Bloomberg contributed to this story.


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