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Is the Amazon HQ2 coming to Central Florida?


From the Orlando Economic Partnership

On September 7, Amazon announced plans to build a second headquarters, opening a bidding war among cities.

The Orlando Economic Partnership is building a strong case for why our region is the best location for Amazon’s HQ2, using our compelling “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it.” brand by highlighting our assets and strengths as a region. Those assets include our strong infrastructure with rail, road, air and sea connectivity along with the plentiful pipeline of talent with more than 500,000 students enrolled within a 100-mile radius of the city. I believe our culture of innovation, inclusiveness, and commitment to sustainability, key corporate values for Amazon, also strengthens our case.

In Florida, our proposal is due to Enterprise Florida on October 9, and the state bid is due to Amazon on October 19. A final decision is expected in 2018.

Project overview

In its RFP, Amazon states that its project will hire as many as 50,000 new, full-time employees with an average annual total compensation exceeding $100,000 over the next 10 to 15 years. The project is expected to have over $5 billion in capital expenditures. Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy.

In choosing the location for HQ2, Amazon has a preference for:

Metropolitan areas with more than one million people

A stable and business-friendly environment

Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent

Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options

HQ2 could be, but does not have to be:

An urban or downtown campus

A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus

A development-prepped site

Amazon wants to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting its preferred timeline.

Further intelligence:

Most critical differentiator among eligible sites is mass transit to the door.

Site selection is expected in Q1 2018, likely January or February.

Other Florida locations invited by Amazon to respond were Tampa and Jacksonville. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale will also submit.

Orlando Economic Partnership Proposal and Response

Our staff is already tackling the preparation of the response; RED team (gov’t partners) has been engaged; OEP staff assigned by topic are at work assembling information requested to tell our story.

Our response will contain multiple real estate sites, but be limited to the best sites that meet Amazon’s minimum requirements. We will convene parties providing/supporting participating sites and collaboratively prepare an aggressive proposal, positioning Orlando as the perfect location for Amazon HQ2.

Engaging the region for “Amazon HQ2”

The public nature of Amazon’s RFP has many around the nation buzzing about “who will land this mega-project.” Here in Orlando, the interest is certainly at a heightened level with the recent announcements of KPMG, Verizon, Deloitte, ADP, and others coming to Central Florida for many of the same attributes Amazon is looking for.

To fully respond to this opportunity, in a manner consistent with our values of being visionary, inclusive, disciplined and collaborative, we are soliciting support and insight from companies, local governments, educational partners and others. We’ve already begun to bring together key community leaders with experience in national and international bidding competitions to leverage the success of our tourism and sports industries to bolster our bid for Amazon HQ2. Should we advance in the process, we have ideas about the engagement of a broader Bid Committee. However, at this phase in the process, we are focused on the best proposal we can submit.