Westchester County will join the long list of cities, counties and states angling for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Standing behind a lectern with an “Amazon Westchester” logo, County Executive Robert P. Astorino Tuesday morning said Westchester would work with state economic development officials to put together a proposal for the online retail giant. Amazon published a request for proposal earlier this month for municipalities interested in hosting the company’s second headquarters, which the company said will eventually employ as many as 50,000 people.
“We have all the right matchups: talent, accessibility, quality-of-life, value and location,” Astorino said. “And we believe with the strengths that we have, and the examples that we have set, that Westchester is the smartest choice for Amazon.”
Amazon’s preferences include a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, a stable business environment and an urban or suburban location with the ability to attract strong talent.
The company’s announcement and the more than $5 billion in local investment it promises to bring the winning region has set off a frenzy of competing municipalities.
“This is obviously the Super Bowl,” Astorino said.
As for what puts Westchester in the big game, Astorino cited the 47 percent of county residents 25-years and older with a college or graduate degree; the county’s three Metro-North train lines to Manhattan; 18,000 acres of parkland and available office space with proximity to New York City, but at a fraction of the cost.
The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency will also put together a mix of tax incentives for the company, Astorino said.
The county could offer a mix of both suburban and urban office environments. Amazon said in its proposal that it requires an initial building space of 500,000 square feet on a location that could eventually accommodate 8 million square feet of office space.
“We have the choice of choosing urban, transit-oriented development sites like White Plains, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, and open space campuses in Somers,” Astorino said.
Somers Town Supervisor Rick Morrissey pitched office space in his town that he said includes more than 500,000 square feet at the former PepsiCo headquarters and more than 1 million square feet at IBM’s former campus.
“We’ve got a lot of choices for them,” said Astorino. He said the county is working with Somers, along with the mayors of New Rochelle, Yonkers, Mount Vernon and White Plains for the proposal.
“We’re looking at a lot of locations in each municipality,” Astorino said. “Ultimately, I’d rather err on the side of caution and give more than they would expect as opposed to restricting it.”
Amazon has requested the proposals be submitted by Oct. 19. Astorino said the county will soon submit its proposal to the state, which will finalize it and submit it to Amazon. The company is expected to make a decision sometime next year.
“I think this is one of the best things we can accomplish in my lifetime if it happens,” said William M. Mooney Jr., president and CEO of Westchester County Association. “And there’s no reason to think that it won’t happen.”