Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.22.51By: Leanna Garfield

Published 16-10-2017

2_Neighborhood_Built_Schuylkill Yards
A rendering of the Schuylkill Yards mixed-use development in Philadelphia.               Shop/West 8

After Amazon announced in September that it will build a second headquarters in an undetermined location, more than 50 North American cities concocted bids to persuade the company to choose them.

The company’s new campus, called HQ2, will bring 50,000 new jobs. Amazon will invest $5 billion in its construction, making the offer one of the largest corporate-civic opportunities in recent American history.

Proposals are not due until October 19, but many cities have already disclosed their plans to woo Amazon. And some are more extreme than others.

Here are a few of the most out-there bids.

Dallas, Texas — A development that would surround a proposed station for a $15 billion bullet train

Dallas, Texas — A development that would surround a proposed station for a $15 billion bullet train
Texas Central Rail Co.

Developers from firms Matthews Southwest and Texas CentralPartners are pitching a transit-oriented development for Amazon’s HQ2 campus, according to Dallas Business Journal. It would surround a proposed station for a bullet train, which Dallas magazine reports is expected to cost $15 billion. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has formally expressed support for the train plan, which will likely happen with or without Amazon.

If fully approved by the city, the 240-mile line would transport passengers from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes. Developers hope to start construction on the development by late 2018.

Dallas, Texas — The site of a former (nearly dead) shopping mall

Dallas, Texas — The site of a former (nearly dead) shopping mall
Dallas Midtown

 

One of the more telling proposals comes from three Dallas developers, who want Amazon — the e-commerce giant that pioneered the growth of online shopping — to move into the old site of the Valley View Mall.

Local outlet Dallas News reports that the proposal calls for the construction of a 500,000-square-foot office building, which would be a part of a larger 430-acre district.

The building’s parking garage was demolished this summer, and now only a theater, a few art galleries, some pizza joints, and a smoothie shop remain.

Phoenix, Arizona — A proposal to move inside a renovated version of the city’s first shopping mall

Phoenix, Arizona — A proposal to move inside a renovated version of the city's first shopping mall
A rendering of a plan to redevelop Park Central Mall in Phoenix.                                                                                                                                                            Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies

 

There seems to be a trend of cities proposing dilapidated shopping malls as the site for HQ2. Phoenix officials will likely pitch Park Central Mall to Amazon, according to multiple sources who spoke with the Phoenix Business Journal.

Park Central was the city’s first mall when it opened in the 1950s. The mall’s clothing stores shut down several years ago, and today, there is just a Starbucks, a few restaurants, offices, and a data center.

Cities in New Jersey — $5 billion in tax incentives

Cities in New Jersey — $5 billion in tax incentives
Jersey City, New Jersey.                                    City of New Jersey Official Government Page/Facebook

In early October, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and legislative leaders said they will offer Amazon tax breaks worth $5 billion over the next decade if the company decides to build there, according to The Observer.

The plan would expand a subsidy program, Grow NJ, and provide extensive economic incentives for companies (like Amazon) that launch “transformative projects” (like HQ2).

The proposed bill would raise the cap on subsidies from $5,000 to $10,000 for every job Amazon creates. Christie said that he expects lawmakers to sign the bill into law by mid-January.

Memphis, Tennessee — $60 million in tax incentives

The Memphis City Council voted on October 3 to offer the tax breaks for the company’s headquarters, which would possibly be in addition to incentives offered by the development agency Economic Development Growth Engine, Shelby County in Tennessee, and the state.

Frisco, Texas — An offer to build the rest of its city around Amazon

Frisco, Texas — An offer to build the rest of its city around Amazon
A screenshot from Frisco, Texas’ video that invites Amazon to build HQ2 there.City of Frisco, Texas/Twitter

 

Frisco, Texas is proposing turning its small city essentially into a company town, dominated by Amazon. It currently has a population of around 160,000 people over 62 square miles.

“Our city’s only about 60% built out, so we’ve got a lot of available land where we can build to suit,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney told The New York Times. “We play to win. We’re innovators. We’re forward thinkers, and we’re serious.”

Stonecrest, Georgia — A proposal to rename itself after Amazon

Stonecrest, Georgia — A proposal to rename itself after Amazon
Stonecrest, Georgia                                                                                                            City of Stonecrest

The Georgian town of Stonecrest is pledging to rename itself “the city of Amazon” if the company chose it for HQ2, local outlet Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

In early October, Stonecrest’s city council voted 4 to 2 in favor of the name change. The town would also devote 345 acres to the campus.

“There are several major US cities that want Amazon, but none has the branding opportunity we are now offering this visionary company,” Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary told AJC.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Three sites that would collectively span 28 million square feet

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Three sites that would collectively span 28 million square feet
A rendering of the Schuylkill Yards mixed-use development in Philadelphia.             Shop/West 8

 

In Amazon’s requirements for cities, the company said it is looking for existing buildings of at least 500,000 square feet and total site space of up to 8 million square feet.

Philadelphia would have that covered. Its officials are proposing three sites to Amazon, which would collectively span an estimated 28 million square feet throughout the city, The Philly Inquirer reports.

The unfinished developments — Schuylkill Yards, uCity Square, and Navy Yard — already include millions of square feet of offices, retail, transit lines, and residential spaces.