Portland pitches four-plus-one for amazon HQ2
Greater Portland Inc has revealed a taster of its pitch to lure etailing giant Amazon.com's second headquarters.
True to its name, GPI is spreading its net to the four points of the compass, suggesting more than just a Portland base.
In a statement after the deadline for pitches closed, it earmarks sites in four municipalities across Oregon and Washington, along with a multi-site, regional campus.
Each of Beaverton, Milwaukie, Portland and Clark County, Washington have proposed one site which could handle Amazon's supersized needs. Aside from Portland's Pearl District Post Office site, the other three have not been disclosed.
GPI also pitched a "regional distributed campus concept," making use of sites in all four locations.
Amazon's RFP stated its second HQ should be in a city more than half a million people, and have suitable buildings and sites, labor force, logistics (travel time) and quality of life.
In response, GPI is banking on Portland's workforce, "comprised of a pipeline of students at universities and community colleges, as well as a healthy influx of highly educated talent. Greater Portland leads markets like Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and others in domestic net-migration of those 25 years or older with a bachelor's degree or higher."
GPI Board Chairman Wally Van Valkenburg weighed in, "We're the 24th-largest metro area nationwide with one of the highest percentages of college graduates. We effectively meet Amazon's key criteria of attracting and retaining strong technical talent."
Portland has become known as a place engineering talent that wants to stay here, and Amazon already has a beachhead here in the form of Amazon Web Service Elemental, whose young CEO died suddenly in July. Puppet, another Portland software giant, New Relic, and even Vevo, have been adept at luring talent here and keeping it. All of this has been on a scale dwarfed by amazon's needs, which is looking to employ 50,000 people.
GPI boasted of the region's "multi-modal transportation and daily nonstop domestic and international flights."
The statement said that Beaverton, Clark County, Milwaukie and Portland had "worked diligently in the last five weeks to develop their respective site-specific proposals."
GPI worked with AECOM, a global infrastructure firm, helped design the distributed campus concept.
Economic development partners included Business Oregon, Columbia River Economic Development Council, Columbia Willamette Workforce Collaborative, GPI's Higher Education Committee and Portland General Electric.
"GPI and our partners have made a very compelling case for Amazon HQ2," said Janet LaBar, GPI president and CEO. "More than anything, this project has tested the region's ability to cooperate, think big and clearly state values that are important to our community. Already, this is a win for Greater Portland."
GPI said no "formal" incentives were offered, although there are many existing state, local and institutional programs and incentives were brought to Amazons attention.
The multi-site distributed campus model is presented by GPI and AECOM as another HQ2 option for consideration. One cryptic sentence was all they would say:
"The multi-site distributed campus concept leverages this connectivity. "
In a Frequently Asked Questions guide issued by GPI, one question ran:
Q:What do you think Amazon will find most attractive about the proposal?
A: Site selection, generally, takes into consideration a number of factors, and while the process for Amazon HQ2 was unique, the decision-making process will still be complex. GPI is confident that the regional value proposition of talent + quality of life + connectivity + business ecosystem is compelling, and this combination of regional strengths is largely unmatched by any other U.S. metro.
The statement continued, "Amazon has stated a final site selection and announcement timeframe of 2018. At a minimum, there are 8.5 weeks of staying in front of this project. If Greater Portland has convinced Amazon that our region should be shortlisted for HQ2, we'll celebrate and get right back to work."
The pitch document will no doubt be used for luring other companies here.
NOTE: Due to the confidentiality of specific site information within the proposal, GPI cannot release it in full. The Executive Summary outlining why Greater Portland is a great fit for Amazon HQ2 will be made available Friday, October 20 at greaterportlandinc.com/amazonhq2.