Amazon just launched a fierce nationwide competition to be home to its next big headquarters.
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, we are seeing a similar beauty contest, on a smaller scale.
Jay Ash, Governor Charlie Baker’s top economic aide, tells me he’s heard from about a dozen communities that want in. He says the state’s eventual pitch to Amazon, due Oct. 19, will include alternatives from several of them.
In a MassDevelopment meeting today, Ash mentioned New Bedford as a strong option. A Merrimack Valley troika of Haverhill-North Andover-Lawrence is making an unusual joint bid. And in South Weymouth, LStar Ventures is preparing to show off the hundreds of acres available at the former air base.
But Amazon might want a big city. The company says it’s seeking a new home within 30 miles of a “population center” and 45 minutes of an international airport. Access to mass transit is crucial. Amazon will need to fill thousands of tech jobs, so proximity to workers is also key.
Of course, Ash has been talking with Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration about Boston, too. The 161-acre Suffolk Downs property seems like the best Boston candidate given its size. And House Speaker Bob DeLeo just gave the racetrack a shout out for Amazon at the Revere Chamber of Commerce today.
Obviously, only one entrant can win. But Ash argues that the exercise is a good one for all contestants — and that they should all benefit in some way if Amazon picks Massachusetts for its second home.