Last week, The News & Observer reported that, as part of a $92,000 campaign, the Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. have begun placing ads on the sides of Seattle buses, hoping to lure Amazon’s multibillion-dollar HQ2 to either Charlotte, the Triad, or Raleigh-Durham. But there are 238 cities in 43 states (as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico) with their eyes on the same prize, and Amazon is less likely to be swayed by clever marketing than cold hard cash.
The Triangle’s first response to Amazon’s request for proposals—handled by the Research Triangle Research Partnership—didn’t include any talk of incentives. Those will come
if the region makes it through the first round of vetting. Still, the city and county of Durham alone have incentive policies that could pay Amazon $50 million over twenty-four years. But even that may be nowhere even close to enough.
The FOIA warriors at Muckrock.com and a Seattle Times columnist have been filing public records requests, seeking information on what various cities are bidding. (Because Raleigh-Durham’s bid was handled by a private agency, it is not public record.) So far, thirty cities’ bids have been revealed in full—and those that include financial incentives show that Amazon has this country’s municipalities over a barrel.
Click on the image above for a sample of what the competition is offering.