Connecticut shows renewed interest in Amazon HQ

February 11, 2019

STAMFORD — State officials have reached out to Amazon in response to the reported foundering of its plans for a headquarters in Queens, N.Y., and city officials are also tracking the situation.

The renewed contact with the e-commerce giant comes as the company purportedly reconsiders its proposal for a campus in Queens’ Long Island City section in the wake of mounting opposition.

Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted last Friday that the state had “made an outreach to Amazon through its in-state representation, and we are looking forward to expanding the dialogue.”

In an accompanying tweet, the new governor said the economic-development nonprofit Connecticut Economic Resource Center’s new co-chairpersons, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and former Webster Bank CEO Jim Smith, would “construct a path forward.”

Thomas Madden, Stamford’s director of economic development, said in an interview that “we are monitoring the situation in New York.” He declined to comment further on Amazon.

As the Connecticut city closest to New York City, Stamford would arguably be the best-positioned among the state’s urban areas to take advantage of a prospective Amazon U-turn on its Long Island City complex.

“I absolutely think Stamford should take steps to attract Amazon here and that we as a state should be doing everything we can to attract and welcome innovative, high job-growth companies like Amazon to Connecticut,” said state Rep. Caroline Simmons, a co-chairwoman of the state Legislature’s Commerce Committee.

In October 2017, the state Department of Economic and Community Development submitted a proposal for Stamford or the Hartford area to house a new headquarters to accompany Amazon’s main offices in Seattle.

Separate from the official state application, Bridgeport and New Haven, as one applicant, and Danbury, on its own, turned in plans.

No Connecticut cities, however, made the shortlist of 20 areas for HQ2 that Amazon announced in January 2018.

Last November, the company unveiled not one, but two, new campus picks: Long Island City and Arlington, Va. Amazon plans to hire more than 25,000 employees each at those sites and invest $5 billion across the two locations.

pschott@scni.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott

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