Himes sends Connecticut message to Amazon
The state’s would-be bid to snatch Amazon’s faltering New York headquarters and 25,000 employees remains a work in progress with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, joining the fray.
Himes sent a letter to a top Amazon site planner this week, saying if the company reconsiders its choice of Queens, across the East River from Manhattan, it should look to Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport.
New York elected officials are divided over whether Amazon’s massive proposal, chosen along with Alexandria, Virginia as a joint East Coast headquarters, is worth the headaches: added congestion, higher apartment rents that would force out middle-class residents and city and state subsidies worth as much as $3 billion over the decades.
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“I hope you will consider my region, and Connecticut in particular, as a possible welcoming and enthusiastic host to your remarkable company,” Himes wrote in a letter Tuesday to Holly Sullivan, director of worldwide economic development for Amazon.
In the wake of reports that Amazon has second thoughts at the altar in New York, including a Washington Post story Friday, it appears Connecticut is aiming to speak to Amazon with one voice, as Himes’ letter suggests. That’s in contrast to the two official bids from the state — Stamford and Hartford — and four wildcat Connecticut bids in the nationwide competition that ended last year.
Stamford makes far and away the most sense since it has available, Class-A office space and is closest to New York, where Amazon obviously wants to be. Joe McGee, vice president of the Business Council of Fairfield County, said Friday he’s thinking about a “two-state solution” including Stamford and the Bronx, if the Queens deal falls through.
Himes spelled out the selling points for Connecticut — the educated workforce, location near New York, quality of life and access to airports. That last one is a sticky issue for Connecticut’s Fairfield coast, as the region would need to patch together commuter service to New York’s LaGuardia along with expanded routes at Westchester and Tweed New Haven airports.
“In general, our costs and tax rates are lower than those of New York City,” Himes continued, offering a comparison that Connecticut gains against almost noplace else.
Himes offered to introduce Sullivan to “my old friend, Governor Ned Lamont, and to the mayors of these three cities.”
Lamont hasn’t spelled out details of a plan, nor said whether he’s spoken with Amazon. He tweeted Friday that he and his top corporate recruitment folks, including the recently retired PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, are all over the case.