County Executive Rob Astorino announced Tuesday morning in White Plains that Westchester is joining the national bidding war to make the county the new home of Amazon’s second headquarters.
Earlier this month, the Seattle-based Internet retailer announced it was seeking proposals from cities and metropolitan areas across the country to compete for the additional location. The company plans to open a 500,000-square-foot facility known as HQ2 that is expected to include $5 billion in private investment and create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.
“We think we are the best location for Amazon to locate their second headquarters right here in Westchester out of all the locations in the United States,” Astorino said. “We have all the right match-ups – talent, accessibility, quality of life, value and location.”
Astorino cited the county’s three Metro-North train lines to Manhattan and easy accessibility to Westchester County Airport, along with LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, Newark and Stewart airports. He also highlighted that 47 percent of county residents 25 and up have college or graduate degrees and there are 18,000 acres of parkland along with available office space.
“No other location offers proximity to New York City, but with office space at half the price,” Astorino added.
Amazon is searching for a suburban or urban area of more than one million residents, which also has a stable and business-friendly environment with the ability to attract talented professionals. The company wants access to mass transit and major highways and to be situated within 45 minutes of an international airport.
“We believe with the strengths that we have and the examples that we have set that Westchester is the smartest choice for Amazon,” Astorino said. “A partnership with Amazon in Westchester would thrive.”
Officials are currently working with state economic development officials to put together a proposal that they plan to send Amazon in early October.
Astorino added that the county currently has multiple locations that are ready to meet Amazon’s needs, including the former IBM and PepsiCo campuses in Somers.
“With the former IBM and PepsiCo campuses available, Somers has world class commercial real estate in a strategic location, providing easy access to three Metro-North train stations, highways and area airports,” Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey said. “Tech companies have thrived in suburban enclaves, and Somers is fertile ground for the east coast tech scene.”
Morrissey said that both the PepsiCo and IBM campuses are move-in ready. The former PepsiCo space contains 540,000 square feet of space while the former IBM site has one million square feet.
Along with Morrissey, Astorino is working with the mayors of New Rochelle, Yonkers, Mount Vernon and White Plains for the proposal, stating that he wants to offer Amazon several available locations.
“We’ve got a lot of choices for them,” Astorino said.
Amazon is expected to make its decision sometime next year.
“I think this is one of the best things we can accomplish in my lifetime if it happens,” said William Mooney Jr., president and CEO of the Westchester County Association, a countywide business organization. “There’s no reason to think that it won’t happen with the leadership that we have here in this county.”