Long Beach and Huntington Beach to enter fray for Amazon’s second headquartersRelease Date: 2017-10-17
Two of Southern California’s beach cities are jumping into the pool as co-suitors for Amazon’s proposed massive new headquarters.
Long Beach and Huntington Beach officials say they are ready to unveil a joint proposal at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, to become home to the online retail giant. Long Beach would join Los Angeles as the second city in that county to submit a proposal, while Huntington would join Santa Ana and Irvine as suitors from Orange County.
Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Mike Posey said Tuesday he sees two main factors that he believes set the Long Beach-Huntington Beach proposal apart.
One was the two cities’ waterfront location.
“Where do you have a quality of life advantage over that of the California coast?” Posey said.
Another advantage is more practical. Whereas many cities would need to acquire or develop space to accommodate Amazon, “We’re ready to go right now,” he said.
On Monday, at the Huntington Beach City Council meeting, Mayor Barbara Delgleize announced her city’s formal interest.
Delgleize said after Irvine made its announcement, “what came about after that was why not Huntington Beach? There a lot of great things coming our way, our open space. And I think smartly we joined a partnership with Long Beach.”
On Sept. 7 Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia sent a welcome message to Amazon via Twitter and announced on Facebook that his team was working to become a part of the competition. But he remained quiet afterward.
In his message to Amazon, Garcia wrote “Welcome to Long Beach
– Downtown on water
– half a million residents
– metro to Downtown LA
– billions under construction
– great peeps!”
Amazon announced in September it was looking into big-city options for its second headquarters, which could bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment toward construction and operations.
Cities have until Thursday, Oct. 19 to make their pitches. Already, major cities, from Boston and Washington, D.C. to Chicago and Los Angeles have made lucrative offers. Media reports have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offering $7 billion in tax incentives and Stonecrest, Ga. offered to create the city of Amazon on 345 acres of land.
Officially, Amazon has said it is looking for a metro area with at least a million people, a business-friendly environment, a large pool of technical talent, access to mass transit and major highways with an international airport no more than 45 minutes away. Amazon’s request for proposals also seeks areas with recreational and educational opportunities, “an overall high quality of life” and amenities that appeal to young professionals.
Although Amazon said it was looking into cities with a population of a million or more, Long Beach and Huntington Beach have a combined 700,000 residents.
Irvine was the first Orange County city to announce its interest in September. Officials asked the rest of Orange County cities to back its bid but has not yet unveiled its proposal.
Santa Ana developer Michael Harrah unveiled a plan, dubbed “Orange County Silicon City,” earlier this month. His plan includes a beefed-up proposal for redeveloping the Orange County Register’s recently vacated 20-acre site on Grand Avenue, along with his still unbuilt One Broadway Plaza tower a mile away in downtown Santa Ana. It also calls for the redevelopment of the 102-acre Willowick Golf Course on Santa Ana’s western edge.
“Landing the headquarters of a cutting-edge technology behemoth disrupting the global economy is exactly what Orange County needs as the next step in our community’s social, cultural and economic evolution,” stated an opinion piece co-authored by business council CEO Lucy Dunn, former Chapman University President Jim Doti and Register Opinion Editor Brian Calle.
In its announcement seeking bids, Amazon encouraged states and regions to work together on one proposal per metro area, so it is unclear whether the multiple Southern California bids will dilute their strength.
However, Delgleize did throw in this little nugget.
“Amazonians will love the Southern California vibe,” she said.
Staff writers Jeff Collins and Angela Ratzlaff contributed to this article.