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Nov. 14, 2018 | Wednesday
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Niagara and western N.Y. among 238 suitors seeking Amazon's second North American headquarters
The Niagara Region and western New York have submitted a joint bid to receive Amazon's second headquarters in North America. (Sourced photo)

The Niagara Region and the region of western New York are hoping that together they’ll be chosen as the location for Amazon’s second North-American headquarters (HQ2), which would bring 50,000 jobs to the area.

Last week, Amazon announced they received 238 different proposals from various cities and regions across 54 states, provinces, districts and territories in North America.

The contenders are offering a variety of incentives including tax breaks, branded cities and some more quirky methods like sending giant cactuses.

Niagara and western N.Y. hope their bi-national application will attract the American commerce and computing giant to the region.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said it’s a “long-shot,” but that the city would take any shots they can get, and that 50,000 jobs would be “transformational” for the region, as well as helping reduce fears of casino job losses in Niagara Falls.

“We think we’ll be pretty unique and stand out in the crowd with a bi-national approach,” said Diodati.

“Since they are a U.S. based company, and since we know there’s an America-first sentiment coming from the president, we felt this way we could address both aspects of delivering on what they’re looking for, but also adding an American flare … We have an awful lot to offer when we come together as an area.”

Among the reasons put forward as to why the combined areas would be a good candidate were the workforce in the area, its quick access to the Buffalo airport and expansions at the Niagara District Airport, along with services like mail and GO Transit, said Diodati.

“Obviously we can’t share absolutely everything because that’s part of our bid, but we definitely put our best foot forward with an eye on all the things that we think will be very attractive to them to at least short list us,” said Diodati.

Another reason he think the regions stand a chance to land the bid is how widely the area is known, along with its amenities like transportation and its proximity to the Canadian/American border.

“There’s not a place in the world that hasn’t heard of the Falls. We’re the Coca-cola of municipalities, with a brand as big as any other area globally. And yet, we’ve got so many other amenities that get overshadowed because the brand is so big.”

“We all know and appreciate the fact that it’s a long-shot. But you miss all the shots you don’t take, and we felt that we have a shot — albeit long, we still have a shot, so we put the oar in the water.”

He says though the region knows it has a lot of competition, the Niagara has come out on top before.

“You don’t know how all these kind of things are going to go. We feel that there are certain strikes that we have that no other jurisdiction has.”

Amazon put out the bid in September, asking cities to propose why they would be the next best candidate for their second headquarters in North America, saying they expect to invest more than $5 billion in construction and to create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

In addition to direct hiring, they said the construction and continual operation of the headquarters is expected to create “tens of thousands of additional jobs” and “tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”

Niagara submitted their bid earlier this week before the final deadline.

“All great ideas start with a dream and a vision, and eventually a reality. We understand where we are with this. Sometimes when you’re playing ball, some you win with singles, sometimes you win with walks, and sometimes you win with grand slams. So we’re not going to rule any of the ways out that we can win,” said Diodati.

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