New Jersey to pitch Newark for Amazon’s second headquarters
New Jersey will officially pitch Newark as the location for Amazon’s second headquarters, leaving alternatives such as Camden, Jersey City and New Brunswick out of the proposal due to the online retailing giant by Thursday.
At the announcement Monday in Newark, Gov. Chris Christie said the plan will include $5 billion in state tax breaks, if the project leads to the promised 50,000 new full-time jobs, and $2 billion in local tax breaks that Newark will extend for property taxes and the city’s wage tax.
“The city of Newark will be advanced as not only the best location for Amazon but the only location for Amazon here in the state of New Jersey,” Christie said.
Christie said Newark represents “the heart and soul” of what Amazon says it’s seeking for a headquarters, in terms of technology, education, transportation options and unique cultural opportunities. He said the city is seeing a development boom and turning around its schools, the culmination of years of cooperation across multiple levels of government.
“Newark’s renaissance can no longer be talk, it has to be action. And the final crowning achievement of that will be when Newark is named this spring as the new headquarters for Amazon,” Christie said.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a former Newark mayor, said the idea of landing Amazon’s headquarters in Newark might shock some people but that the company would be smart to come to a city that is charging back.
“We actually sit right on top of dark that makes this a city that has the fastest Internet on the planet Earth, and if you were going to move in the gig economy and the bit economy, this is place to be,” Booker said.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said it feels good as the leader of a city of nearly 300,000 people that’s often the butt of the joke to lead the way for the state.
“There is no other place in the country that Amazon should go but here. Everything else is a cliché, right? Brooklyn sounds like a cliché. So does Denver. It’s all cliché-ish. New Jersey and Newark is the place to be,” Baraka said.
As part of the full-court press, Christie tweeted out a link to a video showing Amazon's Alexa personal assistant suggesting Newark when asked for the best location for the project known as Amazon HQ2.
Camden, Jersey City and New Brunswick had also been competing to be part of New Jersey’s pitch to Amazon, but the state opted to adopt Newark’s proposal and limit it to one city.
Other localities could still choose to submit plans, though Amazon asked in its request for proposals for states to coordinate with jurisdictions to submit one proposal. The plans are allowed to contain multiple real estate sites in more than one jurisdiction.
Amazon could still quality for the $5 billion in state tax incentives even if it chose a site in New Jersey other than Newark, if the expansion of the state’s tax-credit program is adopted using the language Christie recommended. That bill is expected to pass by January.
“I’m so fully confident that this would amount to one of the most successful endeavors in the history of the state’s economic development activities that we are willing to give $5 billion in tax incentives over 10 years upon creation of the 50,000 new jobs,” Christie said. “Let any state go and try to beat that package, along with what we have offered here in Newark.”
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