Amazon HQ2 fever hits Tampa Bay

October 24, 2017

Earlier this month, Tampa Bay submitted its proposal for HQ2 to Amazon. The gargantuan online retailer issued a public Request for Proposals (RFP) on September 7, setting off a race among communities across North America to respond with their proposals for the project by the October 19 deadline. Amazon received a total of 238 proposals for HQ2, which promises to bring 50,000 jobs paying an average wage of $100,000 annually and billions of dollars in capital investment to the winning location.

Tampa Bay’s proposal was a collaborative effort of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Pinellas County Economic Development and the, St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation. More than 200 people contributed their expertise to the proposal, which centers on two potential HQ2 sites in downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.

While the full proposal is confidential per Florida statute and will not be made public, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC has begun rolling out the testimonial videos that were featured on a web site custom built for Tampa Bay’s response. The first video, featuring City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, can be viewed here.

“Tampa Bay has the talent, quality of life, lower business costs and affordability that would make it an ideal place for HQ2,” said Craig J. Richard, president and CEO of Tampa Hillsborough EDC. “As these videos show, we tick all the boxes Amazon requires for its new HQ2 home: pro-business public sector leadership, a rich supply of talent and the ability to attract more of it, a diverse, welcoming, and tolerant community, excellent airport, and unbeatable quality of life. The best part about it is that all of these assets are found in a place that is much more affordable than other major markets Amazon may be looking at.”

Each video speaks to a specific decision driver Amazon outlined in its RFP. The other videos that will be rolled out over the next two weeks feature testimonials from
– Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielders Justin Chavez and Marcel Schäfer
– Tom James, Chairman Emeritus of Raymond James
– Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida
– Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport
– Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of USF
– Dr. Ken Atwater, President of HCC
– Janet Long, Chair, Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners
– Stacy White, Chair, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.
– Bob Dutkowsky, CEO of Tech Data
– Lee Evans, Site Executive & GM, Head of North America Capability Center, Head of Global Strategic Operations
– Ken Jones, Chairman and CEO, Third Lake Capital

Amazon will announce its decision for HQ2’s new home some time in 2018. Keep your fingers crossed, Tampa Bay!