Leaders across North Texas said Wednesday that a proposal to lure Seattle-based Amazon to the Dallas-Fort Worth region was ready to go and would be submitted well ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
The North Texas bid includes pitches to build a second Amazon headquarters — which could eventually employ up to 50,000 people — in cities such as Fort Worth, Dallas and Grapevine. But area officials were tight-lipped about precisely which cities and sites were being included in the regional bid.
“There’s no telling how many sites will be in there,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said, noting that the Greater Dallas Chamber was responsible for paring down the list to a handful of suitable sites.
“I think they’re even doing some joint pitches for multiple sites,” Whitley said.
The Fort Worth and Dallas chambers, which worked together to prepare the bid, planned to issue a joint press release Thursday morning along with a video about the region’s bid, one official said.
Dozens of cities across America have indicated they would join the sweepstakes for the Amazon headquarters complex, which the online retailer pegged as a $5 billion project. They have taken to YouTube and Twitter to creatively tout their advantages, from sunny weather to outdoor activities.
Leading sites in Tarrant County include Fort Worth’s Panther Island, the future Trinity River development north of downtown, and 800 acres in Grapevine that is part of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
Other sites in the region include Victory Park near Dallas’ American Airlines Center; land at the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson; and locations in fast-growing Frisco, home to the Dallas Cowboys’ new Star complex, according to news reports and interviews with several officials.
In Arlington, Mayor Jeff Williams confirmed during his annual State of the City address Wednesday that his city had submitted a site. He declined to provide details but other sources said the Globe Life Park location was being offered to be re-purposed for Amazon after the Texas Rangers baseball club moves to its new stadium in 2020.
“Of course, this is a once-in-a-century opportunity,” Williams said during his speech at the city’s convention center. “Stay tuned, because who knows what is next for Amazon HQ2 and Arlington.”
In Grapevine, Mayor William D. Tate said officials in his city were told that the proposed site on the north end of DFW Airport had met the criteria for submission.
In its request for proposals, Amazon indicated that it wished to build a second headquarters in an area with a diverse population, access to research and an information technology-savvy workforce and available public transportation.
Tate said he was optimistic that regardless of what Amazon decides cities that took part in the process could benefit from the experience and perhaps lure other corporations interested in expansion.
“We may get something nice that we had not anticipated as a result of this lottery,” Tate said. “All of this information is going to be circulated out there for other companies to see.”
“We are really trying to sell the state of Texas, and the Metroplex.”
The North Texas submission likely doesn’t include great detail of each city’s proposal, but more of an overview of the region. The Greater Dallas Chamber, in consultation with the Fort Worth Chamber, are making an effort to show that cities across the region are supportive of each other, several officials said.
Several officials said Amazon provided no guidance about what will happen after Thursday’s deadline passes and cities across North America have made their pitch. But if the process is similar to other large-scale corporate relocations or expansions, Amazon is likely to whittle the list down to a handful of finalists and then send teams of scouts to meet with regional leaders and get an up-close look at the properties.
Amazon has said it expects to announce a location for its second headquarters some time in 2018.
“If North Texas makes the short list,” said Robert Sturns, Fort Worth economic development director, “that’s when the fun starts.”