By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – Officials in Colorado are hoping to have their proposal for Amazon’s Headquarters 2 within the next month.
“This is an opportunity for us to showcase what we’re doing here in the state of Colorado and the metro Denver region. We look at Amazon as helping complete the global city,” said Sam Bailey, the Vice President of Economic Development for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.
The e-commerce giant announced last week it was looking for a new place to house up to 50,000 employees with a laundry list of requests.
The Metro Denver EDC is working with the Governor’s office to create the bid for Colorado.
“Whether the company were to locate here in Denver, or Broomfield, or Aurora, or elsewhere, what we benefit from is a regional workforce, regional assets, that help make this a great place to do business,” Bailey said. “We look at the impact they’ll bring from community engagement, volunteering, sustainability, job creation all those goals allow us to accomplish creating a vibrant economy.”
Amazon’s Request for Proposal wants millions of square feet of office space in a business-friendly city with a well-educated workforce. They also want good public transportation, and nearby outdoor recreation for employees among other requests.
In turn, Amazon is guaranteeing $5 billion in capital expenditures and up to 50,000 employees with most making six-figures in salary.
“When people say, ‘These are all tech jobs,’ no, you have operations, management, accounting. It’s truly going to be a headquarters. Their employment is going to reflect executive to entry-level jobs,” Bailey said.
The state has a bipartisan law that only allows for performance based incentives for any company looking for perks. Bailey says what Colorado is proposing is an incentive based on the long-term job creation.
Amazon would be by far the largest company to pick Denver, or the surrounding area, as a headquarters.
“For a project like this, you have to go beyond the RFP. We’re looking to deliver on exactly what Amazon is asking and beyond. That means researching the culture of Amazon, the connectivity, what they’ve built in Seattle, so we can replicate and identify a culture they see adaptable,” Bailey said.
The bids are due to Amazon on Oct. 16.
A recent New York Times article narrowed down the possibilities and picked Denver. Other websites have compiled similar lists that have not even mentioned Denver as a legitimate possibility.
“We’re cautiously optimistic. We feel that Colorado has quite the story to tell. It not only tells the story about how we’ve invested in outdoor recreation, but how we built a skilled workforce, we’re the second most educated workforce in the nation. The New York Times article isn’t just good for Amazon to see, it’s good for all companies to see,” Bailey said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.