East Providence included in state's Amazon 'HQ2' application

One of seven cities pegged as potential sites for on-line retail behemoth

EastBayRI.com ·

PROVIDENCE — East Providence is among seven communities around the state submitted by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to be the new home of Amazon’s planned second quarters, the on-line retail giant having stoked a vigorous competition throughout North America for its so-called “HQ2.”

The company set Thursday, Oct. 19, as its deadline for proposals.

In a statement issued the same day, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor wrote: “The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation today is submitting a proposal for Amazon’s HQ2 on behalf of the State of Rhode Island, its municipalities, and the Partnership for Rhode Island. The proposal includes sites in our capital city as well as across the Ocean State. Our application package lays out the partnerships, business climate, quality of life and incentives that make Rhode Island attractive – and make our proposal competitive.”

According to the company, Amazon plans to spend some $5 billion dollars over a period of 15 years on the project while creating an estimated 50,000 jobs. A report by the Reuters News Service noted Amazon is seeking a metropolitan area of more than a million people with good education, mass transit and likely lower costs than its home base in Seattle.

A video touting the credentials of Rhode Island and its locations cited among other things: the Providence metropolitan area’s cost of living, which it claims is 40 percent less than Seattle; its renowned food and dining scene, including farmers markets like the one held at Weaver Library; access to the shore and bike paths, including the East Bay trail; its proximity to Boston and New York City; the some 130 colleges and universities in the area and the 200,000 annual graduates; the wind farm off Block Island; and that permits to build are basically in place immediately.

“ We are posting our website, which was created for this purpose, as well as releasing a list of submitted locations and key renderings. We will not be publicly releasing the detailed materials that are subject to negotiation,” Mr. Pryor’s statement continued. “Rhode Island universities collaborate frequently and we are grateful to them for coming together on one of the key initiatives in this proposal: ‘Amazon Academy.’ We envision Amazon employees obtaining the professional development and continuing education they need to advance Amazon’s goals through this initiative. The Academy will braid together offerings from Rhode Island’s colleges and universities and will serve as a one-stop-shop for Amazon employees to access programming that is tailored to the company.”

The aforementioned video is included in a new website created by Rhode Island Commerce specifically to lure Amazon to the state, www.riforamazon.us. The site includes a pitch by Governor Gina Raimondo and testimonials from some of the state’s most recognizable businesspeople.

Amazon has said it plans to announce its decision on where to place its second headquarters sometime in 2018.

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