By Conor White
The 20 cities still vying for Amazon's second-headquarter bid are making what could be their final pitches for the project. Many have speculated that the company will narrow the list any day, and one contender, Newark, NJ, is all in.
"We're kind of New York City without the New York City pricing," said Aisha Glover, the president and CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation.
Nearly 240 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico originally submitted bids for HQ2, and Amazon narrowed the list in January. Newark is not only competing with its cross-river neighbor, but also name brand locations like Washington, D.C., Miami, and Los Angeles.
Nevertheless, Glover said Tuesday in an interview on Cheddar that her city is optimistic, especially after it dangled a $7 billion incentive package in front of Amazon. Critics have panned the offer, saying it could bankrupt Newark, but Glover maintained the plan is solid.
"Because we're talking about 50,000 jobs and ultimately 8 million square feet of space, the reason why you're kind of creeping up to higher numbers is because your payroll tax waiver is per employee, your property tax abatement is really based upon size, so it's really just an issue of scale," she said.
Glover noted that, beyond the 50,000 jobs Amazon is promising, as many as 100,000 indirect jobs could be created. The CEO believes Newark can handle it, largely thanks to cooperation from the rest of the state.
"The entire county of Essex County, which Newark is in, is the size of Seattle," Glover said. "So, we're not just looking at Newark when we're talking about housing options."
Seattle, home to Amazon's original HQ, has seen homelessness skyrocket in the last few years, partially because Amazon's success has raised real estate prices, pushing out some early residents. Glover is aware of the risks, but she said Newark is prepared.
"If we didn't have concerns, then we would be naive."
Amazon is expected to announce the location of HQ2 by the end of 2018.
For full interview click here.