Immediately after Amazon announced plans yesterday to open a second North American headquarters, emails began flying around Delaware government offices.
Delaware officials will announce today that they will join Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities in the competition for Amazon’s $5 billion “HQ2.”
“It’s interesting how it works in Delaware. All we all needed to see was the announcement that Amazon was looking and everybody jumped on it at the same time,” said John Rago, the city’s deputy chief of staff for policy. “Before you know it, we were all exchanging emails.
Gov. John Carney said he intends to bring together Delaware’s federal delegation, all four caucuses in the General Assembly, the New Castle County executive and Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki as the state develops a proposal.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos yesterday said he expects the new headquarters to be a full equal to the company’s Seattle headquarters, bringing billions of dollars in upfront and construction investments and also ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.
Amazon, which has a 1 million-square-foot facility in Middletown, said it hopes to open the second headquarters in a suburban or urban area with more than 1 million people. Delaware’s population is 952,065 and there are heavily populated areas of surrounding states within easy commuting distance.
Amazon’s checklist for a new home includes government subsidies, which Delaware has been willing to provide in the past.
Delaware fulfills other requirements on Amazon’s checklists with its proximity to Philadelphia International Airport, access to major interstate highways, higher education facilities, pro-business climate, and its educated fintech workforce.
As Rago put it, “We have as much of a shot as anybody. That’s the way we should think about it, and that’s the way we approached it.”
“We have a world-class workforce and communities that are ideal places to live, work, and raise a family,” Carney said, adding that Delaware is centrally located with easy access to airports, railroads, interstates and shipping ports.“Combine our location with the state’s ability to work quickly and collaboratively with government, business, and academic leaders, and it becomes clear why Delaware would be an attractive option for Amazon.”
“We are pleased to work in partnership with the state and county governments and our federal delegation to bring Amazon to Delaware,” Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said. “Naturally, I have a preference for the company coming to Wilmington, but this is a huge opportunity to provide employment for our city residents as well as those who live beyond Wilmington’s borders and to boost our local economy. Amazon will find that Wilmington and all of Delaware welcomes and supports business and knows how to help businesses grow and prosper.”
“Delaware is the premier destination for Amazon to tap into an exceptional workforce, extraordinary location, high quality of life and a responsive and responsible public sector,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer.
“Delaware has been home to some of the best and most innovative companies in the world,” said Delaware House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “It’s my hope we can add a giant like Amazon… Being a state of neighbors, we can respond to any issues or questions they might have. I hope Amazon sees that and it gives us a leg up.”
“Our size is an advantage,” said Delaware House Minority Leader Danny Short. “We can literally bring all the players to the table in a single room and be more responsive than perhaps any state in the nation. When DuPont and Dow merged, not many people would have believed we would be able to land the headquarters of two of the three resulting businesses, but that’s what happened.”
Delaware Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson said the state’s “strong business reputation for getting things done quickly and efficiently” achieves results for businesses that settle here.
“Delaware has a well-earned and longstanding reputation as an excellent place to live and to do business,” said Delaware President Pro Tempore David McBride. “Fortune 500s like Amazon flock here for our business-friendly attitudes and legal system, but we offer far more than the world’s foremost Court of Chancery. .. I speak for my colleagues when I say that I’ll do everything in my power to support our efforts to bring them to Delaware.”
“Our size allows us tremendous flexibility and interconnectedness,” said U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “.We have diversity, arts, and cultural opportunities for employees to enjoy. Political and local leaders have a history of working together…”
“Delaware may be small, but that’s what makes us so nimble when it comes to creating a nurturing environment for business,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper said.
“Delaware is the best place for Amazon’s second headquarters because Amazon’s corporate values of excellence, agility, diversity, and inclusion mirror what we value and practice in Delaware,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “I’m proud of our business-friendly economy, our world-class workforce and ample space for commercial development. Which is just the reason why companies like Incyte, Bank of America, Chemours, and others chose to either have their corporate headquarters in Delaware or a substantial presence in the First State.”