Edwardsville is the next city in the St. Louis area hoping to woo online retail giant Amazon into bringing their future second headquarters to town, city leaders say.
The company put out a nation-wide call for proposals recently, attracting bids from St. Clair County, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and a slew of other cities. The headquarters, called HQ2, could bring up to 50,000 jobs, said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Edwardsville leaders plan to meet with county and state officials on Friday to start brainstorming how to attract Amazon, said Walt Williams, the city’s economic and community development director. Edwardsville’s commerce centers already host two Amazon fulfillment centers.
“Those facilities are exceeding expectations,” Williams said. “We have the workforce, the quality of life and when we read Amazon’s request for proposals, we think of Edwardsville.”
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The goal of Friday’s meeting will be to start forming a package of economic incentives for Amazon, Williams said, from the price of land to utility and operating costs.
The deadline for submitting the proposal to Amazon is Oct. 19, Williams said.
While a specific location has not yet been determined, the county has plenty of land to offer, said Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler.
“Amazon already likes Madison County,” Prenzler said. “We have available land and a very vital, robust logistics and warehouse sector.”
When the proposal is complete, it will tell Amazon in financial terms how much it would cost to build their headquarters in Edwardsville.
“At the end of the day, we will be able to say our package is worth ‘x’ amount of dollars,” Williams said.
Even if the city can’t attract the headquarters, Williams added, there are other possibilities, such as attracting the IT department or other divisions of the headquarters that will need separate buildings.
Amazon’s request for proposal includes sites that are within 30 miles of a population center, within 45 minutes of an international airport, with access to mass transit, and within one or two miles of a major highway.